WASHINGTON (WIVB) — The recent high temperatures have many wanting to head to the water to cool off. But summers on the lake shore, now have an added caution. Years of climate change and erosion combined with warmer and longer summers have increased the growth of harmful algae blooms on Lake Erie and Chautauqua. Scientists are keeping an eye out.

Santina Wortman is with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Program. She said the current conditions are perfect.

“Runoff from the land … brings the nutrients that fuel the algal blooms, so that’s one of the big concerns is that we’re going to see; more harmful algal blooms due to the changes in climate,” Wortman said.

Harmful algal blooms can grow in freshwater environments when algae overgrow, they produce toxic byproducts harmful to people and animals. These dangerous blooms can move to new areas as the wind spreads them across the water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tracks blooms across Lake Erie. It says to avoid contact with any discolored scum on the water and to wash off any residue, as a rash may develop. And watch out for pets: they should not drink water from those sources.