Lake added to algae warning; reservoir downgraded to watch
Marion Reservoir’s blue-green algae warning was downgraded to a watch Thursday, but a new warning was issued for Marion County Lake.
Algae warnings and less-serious watches are effective for a full week and are re-evaluated each Thursday afternoon by Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The warning for Marion County Lake means swimming, wading and skiing should be avoided. Fishing and boating still are allowed but with these precautions:
- Humans, pets, and livestock should avoid contact with dried algae and should not drink or come in contact with lake water.
- Areas of skin that come in contact with lake water should be washed with clean water as soon as possible.
- Only the fillet portion of fish taken should be eaten and only after it is rinsed with clean water
- Areas with visible algae accumulation should be avoided altogether.
A watch means hazardous conditions may be present. A warning means conditions have been determined to be unsafe. Regulations require posting of signs at all public access points during a warning.
While no humans have died in Kansas during blue-green algae blooms, numerous dogs have died, and human illnesses have been reported.
Symptoms in humans include sore throat, congestion, cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, itchy or red skin, blistering, hives or other rashes, and well as earache, agitation, headache, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and eye irritation.
Different species of blue-green algae, technically known as cyanobacteria, emit various toxins when the algae dies or is crushed. Some species emit toxins with relatively mild effects, but some produce potentially fatal neurotoxins. The precise species involved in any bloom is not immediately known.