RATHBUN, Iowa - The Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rathbun Lake is actively responding to a potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom with site-specific sampling and temporary beach closures.
The present algae bloom has been observed at many areas of Rathbun Lake; from the dam to upper lake areas including Corps of Engineers’ beaches and boat ramps. Blue-green algae bloom 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. As a precautionary measure, Corps of Engineers’ public designated beaches, Buck Creek and Island View, are closed. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business.
Blue-green algae has been identified from several areas at Rathbun Lake. Algae toxin tests will be collected by the Corps of Engineers and analyzed for the presence of algal toxin microcystin. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth which may contain toxins.
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 contact water affected by a harmful algal bloom or eat dried algae along the shore may become seriously ill or even die.
Drinking water and showers at campgrounds are safe and not affected by algae bloom. 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 Corps of Engineers will continue to monitor the algae bloom and will provide updates as conditions warrant and will notify the public with toxin test results and as conditions change on the lake.
More information on algae bloom, including up-to-date conditions, can be found online at www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Beach-Monitoring and www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms.
For additional information, contact Rathbun Lake at 641-647-2464.
Release no. 19-050