Smithville Lake Blue-Green Algae Bloom

Published July 16, 2015

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District is announcing a potentially toxic blue green algae bloom at Smithville Lake. Blue green algae identification tests and toxin tests performed July 1 by USACE staff identified cyanobacteria or blue green algae present in the algae bloom near Camp Branch with low levels of algae toxin detected.  Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high lake levels to create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. 

As a precautionary measure, both swim beaches managed by Clay County Parks are closed. sampling results as of July 15 conclude that The microcystin toxin levels from Little Platte Beach and Camp Branch swim beach were 3.7 ppb and 4.7 ppb, respectively which is at the low end of the Watch threshold.  We will continue to monitor and provide the public updates as needed.

Health concerns for people with exposure or ingestion include skin/eye irritation and rash, and ingestion leading to possible diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting and you should contact or call your doctor/veterinarian for any concerns or other unexplained illness. 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.

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 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.

Lakes and boat ramps are not closed.  Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. If swim beaches or lakes are closed, it will be specifically noted. 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.

For more information, contact the Public Affairs Office at 816-389-3486.


Public Affairs Office
816-389-3434 (fax)

Release no. 15-045