Algae status differs at county’s lakes

Marion County Lake has been closed since Thursday until further notice for swimming, water skiing and jet skiing because of toxic blue-green algae, said Steve Hudson, park and lake superintendent.

Marion Reservoir, meanwhile, is open for public use but is under an ?advisory? by the Kansas Department of Health following its sample testing in late June.

County lake situation

At the county lake, though, people are advised not to have skin contact with the lake water, Hudson said.

?People can still go boating and fish,? he added.

Hudson said the blue-green algae has spread across the lake. Until it rains significantly, conditions will remain the same.

?As of today,? Hudson said, ?we are 8 inches below normal and the level continues to be going down fast.?

The extreme heat is contributing to the problem that is keeping away campers and others wanting a recreational outlet away.

Last weekend the county lake and park saw three groups of campers.

?Two of those three groups were here for a family reunion and the other group was for camping,? he said.

A typical weekend brings about 20 campers to the lake, Hudson said.

?It not only hurts our budget, but affects the general economy as well,? he said.

Marion County officials and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment tested the water Monday, but the results won?t be released for another few days.

?Still, it is senseless to call and ask if the lake has reopened until we get rain,? Hudson said.

For more information about the county lake, call Hudson at 620-382-3240 or email: park @ marioncoks.net.

Marion Reservoir open

Unlike the county lake, Marion Reservoir is open for fishing, boating, swimming, skiing and other recreational activities, according to Traci Robb, lead ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engin?eers.

Even so, the official advisory by KDHE remains in effect until testing indicates otherwise.

Following KDHE testing June 25, the reservoir?s overlook and Hillsboro Cove had normal cell counts and the beaches were reopened.

The highest cell counts were at Marion and Cottonwood cove beaches, she said, but those were also cleared June 25, and were ?well below? what is considered a safety risk.

Only one other time between June 23 and now, Hillsboro Cove closed for one day.

Confusing alerts

Until KDHE returns Monday, July 25, to check algae levels, the reservoir remains in an ?advisory,? which discourage all water contact.

?Our main goal is safety,? Robb said.

The hotter than normal weather is also having an affect on the water levels.

?We are 2 feet low,? Robb said. ?The reservoir is not a deep lake.?

Until the county gets significant rain, Robb said the water level will continue to drop. Currently the boat ramp at French Cove is too shallow to accommodate a boat trailer.

Robb said small carry-in boats are acceptable, though.

Concern about toxic blue-green algae is keeping camping and boating down.

?By following a few simple guidelines, people can have fun at the reservoir?s coves and beaches,? Robb said.

If reservoir visitors see a green tint rather than the normal muddy water look, they shouldn?t enter that part of lake.

Other precautions include giving pets fresh water and showering after swimming.

The goal, Robb said, is for people to have fun going to the coves or beaches at Marion Reservoir while at the same time follow simple precautions.

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