US Army Corps of Engineers
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Camp Branch swim beach closed at Smithville Lake for precautionary measure

Published July 20, 2020
Swimming beaches are closed at Smithville Lake.

Swimming beaches are closed at Smithville Lake.

The Kansas City District manages a robust water quality program led by district limnologist Marvin Boyer. In addition to the 18 lake projects, this program is responsible for monitoring surface water quality issues related to watersheds, Civil Works projects and the lower Missouri River. Through this program, staff ensure the quality of the water is suitable for project purposes, existing water uses and public health and safety standards.

The Kansas City District manages a robust water quality program led by district limnologist Marvin Boyer. In addition to the 18 lake projects, this program is responsible for monitoring surface water quality issues related to watersheds, Civil Works projects and the lower Missouri River. Through this program, staff ensure the quality of the water is suitable for project purposes, existing water uses and public health and safety standards.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District identified a potential toxic blue green algae bloom at Smithville Lake near Camp Branch swim beach. As a precautionary measure, Camp Branch swim beach, managed by Clay County Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites, is closed until additional test results are obtained.

Blue green algae identification tests and toxin tests performed July 18, 2020 by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff identified cyanobacteria or blue green algae present in the algae bloom near Camp Branch swim beach with low levels of algae toxin detected. Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high lake levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. 

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 contact and keep pets away. These are indications that a harmful bloom may be present.

Health concerns for people with exposure or ingestion include skin/eye irritation and rash, and ingestion leading to possible diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

Pet owners should 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.

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 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue to monitor the blue-green algae blooms and will provide updates as conditions warrant as well as toxin test results as conditions change on the lake.

More information on algae bloom, including up-to-date conditions, can be found online at https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs .

More information on Camp Branch swim beach can be found online at https://www.claycountymo.gov/departments/public-services/parks/beaches

More information on Corps of Engineers water quality program can be found online at https://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/Locations/Water-Quality.


Contact
Public Affairs Office
816-389-3486
CENWK-PA@usace.army.mil

Release no. 20-111