Advisories issued for multiple Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae

Baylor researchers study toxic blue green algae
Baylor researchers study toxic blue green algae(Thad Scott, Baylor University)
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 9:04 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) issued several public health advisories for Kansas lakes due to blue-green algae.

“A harmful algal bloom (HAB) may look like foam, scum or paint floating on the water and be colored blue, bright green, brown or red. Blooms can develop rapidly; if the water appears suspicious or there is decaying algae on the shore, avoid contact and keep dogs away,” KDHE advises. “These toxins can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation of aerosols and even skin contact. Symptoms vary depending upon the type of exposure (e.g. direct contact, ingestion, inhalation) but can include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, and headache.”

If you or your pet comes in contact with algae, the KDHE says you should rinse the area with clean, fresh water.

Among the advisories issued for Kansas lakes, three (Milford Lake Zone C, Geary and Clay County) were elevated to “hazard,” a status indicating an algae bloom is present and, KDHE says, “extreme conditions exist.” With hazard status, the agency advises the following:

  • Signage should be posted at all public access locations
  • It is recommended that either a portion of the lake or the entire lake or zone, be closed to the public.
  • In some cases, the adjacent land should be closed as well. Actual setback distances will be determined on a site-specific basis, if necessary.
  • When partial closures (i.e., beach or cove) are issued, the remaining lake or zone area will carry a warning status.

KDHE lists 13 lakes under a warning for blue-green algae, indicating conditions are unsafe for human and pet exposure. Lakes under the “warning” status include:

  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County
  • Crystal Lake, Anderson County
  • Ford County Lake, Ford County
  • Garnett Lake (north), Anderson County
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County
  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County
  • Marion Reservoir, Marion County
  • Milford Lake Zone A (Elevated on July 8)
  • Norton Lake, Norton County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Parsons Lake, Neosho County
  • Pomona Lake, Osage County (Elevated on July 8)
  • Riggs Park Lake, Sedgwick County

Four lakes under a watch for blue-green algae include:

  • Carbondale City Lake (Strowbridge), Osage County (Added on July 8)
  • Lake Shawnee, Shawnee County
  • Melvern Lake, Osage County
  • Milford Lake Zone B, Geary County

With a blue-green algae watch, the KDHE says, “blue-green algae have been detected and a harmful algal bloom is present or likely to develop. People are encouraged to avoid areas of algae accumulation and keep pets and livestock away from the water.”

For information on blue-green algae and reporting potential harmful algal blooms, visit https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/HAB.

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