KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District announced today a potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom at the outlet campground river pond downstream of Melvern Lake. Blue-green algae identification tests and toxin tests performed July 31 by USACE staff identified cyanobacteria or blue-green algae present including low levels of the toxin microcystin.
Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is not allowed in the outlet pond and all wading and contact with algae is discouraged. The primary risks for this scenario are for pets that may come in contact with the algae accumulated near shore and floating on the water surface.
Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float or drift around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid all water contact and keep pets away.
Pet owners need to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill or even die.
The present algae bloom is isolated to the outlet campground river pond below Melvern Lake Dam. Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.
The USACE will notify the public as conditions change on the lake.
For more information on Melvern Lake outlet pond conditions, call the Public Affairs Office at 816-389-3486 or go to http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.