STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WAOW) -- It's a cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae.
It can grow and spread quickly if the conditions are just right. Those conditions, as simple as a beautiful summer day in Central Wisconsin.
"When you get large inputs of nutrients and then that is followed by periods of hot weather and especially really calm weather, it allows blue-green algae to float to the surface of lakes," said Gina LaLiberte, Harmful Algal Bloom Coordinator for the Wisconsin DNR.
With hundreds of beautiful lakes and rivers flowing throughout the badger state, Eric Olson the Director/Lake Specialist for Extension Lakes at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point says "you should always be looking at your environment and figuring out which conditions are safe."
The coronavirus pandemic will bring more families and pet owners to nearby lakes instead of community pools so, knowing what to look out for could make all the difference.
"You're going to see what looks like someone spilled green paint or green and blue paint onto the surface of the water and its just sort of sitting there floating on the water it will look kind of incorrect it wont look like something you should swim in," said Olson.
Another thing to remember, LaLiberte says, make sure young children and pets are swimming in water with the clearest conditions possible.
Officials urge that if you see blue-green algae, to call your local health department.