Skip to main content

Algae that can kill dogs, sicken humans found in Edina lake for the second year in a row

The blue-green algae produces the toxin microcystin.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

A popular lake in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina isn't safe right now.

High levels of blue-green algae have been detected in Lake Cornelia creating "public health concerns," the city said in a news release

Officials are warning people to stay out of the water because the algae brings with it high levels of microcystin – a toxin produced by the freshwater bacteria that can be harmful to human health and can even kill dogs.

If this sounds familiar, that's because high microcystin toxin levels were also detected in the lake last September.

Conservation Minnesota says there are a number of reasons Lake Cornelia continues to have problems. Because it lies on a large watershed, over 1,000 nearby acres drain into it. With that comes a lot of pollution run-off from city streets, parking lots, and lawns in the area. Plus, at its deepest point, the lake is only 7 feet – making it susceptible to algae blooms.

Dangers of blue-green algae

Blue-green algae isn't actually an algae, but a freshwater bacteria called cyanobacteria.

With foul-smelling blooms that resemble pea soup, it generally presents during warm weather when the water is stagnant and rich in nutrients.

Exposure to the toxins can be harmful to liver and kidney functions, with symptoms of poisoning including jaundice, shock, abdominal pain, weakness, nausea, vomiting, severe thirst and a rapid pulse.

Pets are more at risk because they don't know better not to drink the water. Blooms have sickened humans and killed several dogs in recent years.

Addressing the problem

The Star Tribune notes the lake's ongoing issues have even gotten attention from the federal government. The lake’s north basin is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “impaired waters” list for failing to meet water quality standards. 

Officials say the lake is treated for algae up to twice per year by lake management companies, and it will continue to be monitored until toxin levels drop. 

“The City is working to minimize invasive aquatic plants in Lake Cornelia and promote the growth of a healthy native aquatic plant population to ‘tie-up’ phosphorus, making less of it available for cyanobacteria and other algae to grow,” Edina's Water Resources Coordinator Jessica Vanderwerff Wilson said in the release.

But Conservation Minnesota warns that improving the lake is going to take a community effort to reduce run-off pollution and try to find the best way to keep it clean.

The group says there are 31 homeowners directly on the lake and many more in its water basin. 

Lake Cornelia is also a popular fishing destination because of its abundant population of Yellow Perch, the DNR says. And part of the lake shore is next to Rosland Park, which sees many families on its playground, walking paths and picnic areas.

Next Up


Runways shut down at MSP Airport due to heavy snow

Some spots in the Twin Cities could see up to 8 inches of snow on Tuesday.

Sourced_Q4_229260_A (1)

2PinkSquirrels - making memories with milkshakes

First Time Guests Get BOGO milkshakes starting December 1st and running through December 15th


Government official accused of stealing luggage at MSP Airport

Charges state Sam Brinton stole luggage with its contents valued at over $2,000.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 12.09.28 PM

Developer plans 'modern European' condos for Minnetonka

City planners are set to review a concept plan Thursday.


Expect up to 8 inches in Twin Cities; another snowstorm next week?

The latest from Bring Me The News meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.


Northern long-eared bat moved from threatened to endangered list

Populations affected by white-nose syndrome have declined by 97% or more.


Court: Ex-cop who fatally shot Philando Castile had teaching license wrongfully denied

The Court of Appeals sent the application back for reconsideration by the board.

Screen Shot 2022-11-29 at 7.26.15 AM

Multiple crashes, spinouts in Twin Cities as snow falls Tuesday morning

The metro could get up to six inches of snow throughout the day.

Screen Shot 2022-11-28 at 5.39.25 PM

Couple critically injured in Kanabec County home attack identified

Jeff and Becky Ponto were found critically injured in their home Sunday morning.


The blue-green algae that can kill dogs has popped up in an Edina lake

A lake in Edina is now a public health hazard because of blue-green algae.

Possibly poisonous blue-green algae was found in another Twin Cities lake

This type of blue-green algae has sickened humans and killed dogs.

Screen Shot 2019-09-04 at 12.44.22 PM

Public health warning after high toxin levels found in Edina lake

High blue-green algae levels have been measured in Mirror Lake.

Flickr - toxic algae bloom - MPCA Photos

Climate change is warming lakes, leading to more toxic algae blooms

The agency says blue-green algae blooms are occurring all across the state.


Warning in Edina over toxic algae levels in Lake Cornelia

High amounts of algae have been detected, which could include toxic blue-green algae.

blue-green algae mpca

Warm fall weather leads to algae blooms on Minneapolis lakes

Conditions are right for more lakes to develop blue-green algae blooms.