Lakes under algae watch
UPDATE — Both Marion Reservoir and Marion County Lake were removed from the state's warning list Thursday, after print editions went to press, but remain on the state's watch list. The original story from our print editions follows.
Marion Reservoir and Marion County Lake are under blue-green algae warnings spurred by days of warm, calm weather.
The lake has been subject to warnings for several weeks, but Thursday’s announcement from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment upgraded the reservoir from a watch.
“It was looking pretty bad last week,” said Kevin McCoy, assistant lake manager at the reservoir. “Rain always lays it down. Sunny, warm, calm days are the triggers that show an increase.”
County lake superintendent Isaac Hett said trouble occurred in “specific areas” of the lake’s waters.
“Today it looked quite a bit better, but it’s hard to say,” he said.
This past week toxin levels tested low, but cell counts were high enough for the KDHE to issue another warning.
“If it were to bloom, it could get bad very quickly,” he said. “Even though a bloom is not going on, if it were to bloom it could spread. But the toxin level is super-low. That is a very good sign.”
The swimming area at the county lake is closed, disappointing some visitors, but 20 campers have turned out ahead of a Camp and Jam musical event planned this Friday and Saturday.
Local musicians will play in the campground. Campers will maintain social distancing, Hett said.