KDHE: Marion Reservoir no longer closed but still under algae warning

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, has reopened Marion Reservoir, but the reservoir remains under a warning due to a harmful algal bloom.

Blue-green algae scum might have accumulated along the lake shore or at camp sites, which may remain closed until all scum is cleared from surfaces such as benches and picnic tables. Blue-green algae scum is toxic if consumed, and is especially dangerous to dogs and other pets, which are likely to attempt to eat it. The public recreating in areas where scum is present should take precautions to ensure that their pets do not consume any.

If a lake is under a public health warning for blue-green algae, activities such as boating and fishing may be safe. However, direct contact with water (i.e., wading, skiing and swimming) is strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock.

Lakes under a warning are not closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches are closed, it will be specifically noted. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe on lakes under a warning, but contact with the water should be avoided.

It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Only the fillet portion should be consumed, and all other parts should be discarded. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake. Zoned lakes may have portions fully open for all recreation even if other portions are under a warning.

Kansans should be aware that blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float 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 contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

Pet owners should be aware that animals that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or die.