A layer of scum on Lemon Park Lake is not toxic but good green algae.
The newest addition to the Lemon Park Lake doesn't have fins or fronds or leaves but it does have a very obvious presence at the lake.
Hugging the usual lakeside vegetation is greenish looking film that can be seen near the shore and further out into the lake.
This film is probably green algae and is not harmful, said David Breth, fisheries program specialist for Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
The Lemon Park Lake and dam are actually part of the KDWPT fish hatchery pond watering system. Breth took a first hand look at the film and determined that it was not the blue green algae bloom that can be a serious problem for lakes and ponds. This film on Lemon Lake doesn't have the usual stagnate water smell associated with a blue-green algae bloom so it shouldn't be a problem, Breth said.
Green algae is beneficial for fish, plankton and plants. When the algae dies off, it puts nutrients back into the water and is not toxic.
When a blue-green algae bloom dies off, it takes up nutrients and uses up the oxygen that can lead to fish kills. Fish kills usually happens in ponds that are over populated Breth said.
Blue-Green algae tends to be a problem where there hasn't been rain in a while or where the wind has been calm and hasn't created wave action. Creeks and rivers don't have a problem with blue-green algae because the water is constantly moving.
Communities with ponds or lakes where wave movement is an issue are using fountains to keep the water stirred up. Golf courses also so use it to keep a bloom of water hazards.
Every body of water in America has blue-green algae but its only when conditions create a bloom that it is a problem.
While the Lemon Park Lake doesn't have a blue-green algae bloom, there are places in Kansas where it is a problem. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with KDWPT, have issued health warnings for Marion County Lake, Melvern Outlet River and Swim Ponds, and Webster Lake. Watches are up for Milford Reservoir, Overbrook City Lake, Sam's Pond in Syracuse, South Lake in Johnson County and Villa High Lake in Thomas County.
If a blue-green algae is present, KDHE offers specific safety instructions: Boating and fishing are safe; direct contact with water (wading, skiing, swimming) are strongly discouraged for people, pets and livestock; eating fish is safe if the fish is rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion should be eaten, all other parts of the fish should be discarded; hands should be washed with clean water after cleaning fish from an infected lake; pets should never be allowed to swim in or drink from water with a blue-green algae bloom because they can become seriously ill or die.