Pomme de Terre Lake shares public health update concerning harmful algae blooms

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District
Published June 3, 2022
BGA at Pomme De Terre Lake

Large growths of algae are called algal blooms and they can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water, leading to illnesses or the death of large numbers of fish. Some algal blooms, such as cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are harmful because they produce toxins that can make people and animals sick if they come into contact with the polluted water, consume tainted fish or shellfish, or drink contaminated water.

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

On May 31, potentially toxic blue-green algae blooms were observed from Lindley Creek Arm mile marker L8 to the dam. Laboratory results from sample(s) from Lindley Creek Arm mile L5.5 area indicate the dense algae bloom consisted of 98% blue-green algae with algal toxin (microcystin) concentration below the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Public Health Warning Criteria for recreation contact but could be considered dangerous for pets. Considering these results, USACE is closing Nemo Park beach and general caution signs will be posted at access point and boat ramps for public awareness.

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.

USACE 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 website and post at the lake as new information becomes available.

More information on algae bloom can be found online at Cyanobacteria – Harmful Algal Blooms, Blue-Green Algae | Missouri Department of Natural Resources (mo.gov) and https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs.


Public Affairs Office

Release no. 22-018