US Army Corps of Engineers
Kansas City District Website

Public health update concerning harmful algae at Kansas City District Pomme de Terre Lake

Kansas City District, Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published May 27, 2021
Blue-green algae shown bloom on north shore near control tower at Pomme de Terre Lake dam May 26, 2021.

Blue-green algae shown bloom on north shore near control tower at Pomme de Terre Lake dam May 26, 2021.

The Kansas City District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responding to a toxic blue-green algae bloom at Pomme de Terre Lake with site-specific sampling and posting lakes with public health advisory signs as recommended by state health agencies.

On May 18, potentially toxic blue-green algae blooms were observed near the dam and near Wheatland Park Area. Laboratory results from samples collected on May 19 indicate the dense algae bloom near the dam consisted of 99% blue-green algae with algal toxin (microcystin) far exceeding Missouri Department of Natural Resources Public Health Warning Criteria for recreation contact and would be considered dangerous for pets. The downwind area in the back of the boat ramp cove at Quarry Point Public Use Area was the most-dense area of the bloom. 

Laboratory results from additional samples collected on May 24 from Wheatland and Nemo swim beaches indicate that blue-green algae toxin (microcystin) was detected in very low concentrations. Considering these results, USACE is not closing beaches but general caution signs will be posted.

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. The downwind or windward bank is frequently where wind-blown concentrations of buoyant blue-green algae cells are likely to be found. These blooms have the potential to produce significant toxin levels in localized areas where the bloom is most dense. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid all water contact and keep pets away.

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 the algae bloom. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions; however, areas with concentrated algae, surface scum or paint-like appearance should be avoided.  Always rinse fish 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 work with Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health and Senior Services to provide public health notices on USACE public web pages and post at the lake as new information becomes available.

More information on algae bloom can be found online at https://dnr.mo.gov/env/cyanobacteria.htm and https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs.


Contact
Kansas City District Public Affairs
816-389-3486
CENWK-PA@usace.army.mil
Kansas City, Mo.

Release no. 21-038