MWCD lakes not affected by algae, are safe for recreation

August 19, 2010

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) lakes are not suffering from the potentially harmful effects of algae and continue to be safe for all routine recreational activities.

 

Several lakes and bodies of water in locations around Ohio have had health advisories issued for them this summer because of the rates of potentially harmful algal blooms or toxins present in the water. The MWCD lakes are not included in those warnings and have exhibited no signs of the presence of any of the harmful toxins.

 

Staff members have been visually monitoring the 10 MWCD lakes throughout the summer and have not found any unusual algae growth, said Mark Swiger, MWCD’s conservation administrator. The MWCD lakes are Atwood, Beach City, Charles Mill, Clendening, Leesville, Piedmont, Pleasant Hill, Seneca, Tappan and Wills Creek.

 

“There have been no signs of any of the algal toxins at the MWCD lakes,” Swiger said. “The MWCD lakes are safe for boating, fishing and swimming as permitted. There are no warnings or concerns listed at the MWCD lakes.”

 

If MWCD staff members identify any signs of the toxins or other potentially harmful items, testing conducted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) would be conducted and the proper warnings and advisories would be posted and reported, Swiger said.

 

Harmful algal blooms can produce poisons (toxins) that can cause illness or irritation in pets, livestock and humans. An algal bloom is an abundant or excessive growth of algae, according to the OEPA.

 

Earlier this summer, several state agencies issued warnings to eliminate contact with the water at Grand Lake St. Mary’s in western Ohio due to the level of algal toxins found in the lake. The OEPA, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Health recommends people, pets and boats should not be in contact with the water, and fish caught in the lake should not be eaten.

 

Since then, the state has conducted tests on other bodies of water in Ohio that have exhibited evidence of the presence of algae and other scums.

 

The MWCD, a political subdivision of the state, was organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses in the Muskingum River Basin, the largest wholly contained watershed in Ohio. Since their construction, the reservoirs and dams in the MWCD region have been credited for saving more than $8 billion worth of potential property damage from flooding, according to the federal government.

 

The permanent MWCD reservoirs, or lakes, have become recognized recreational sites for boating, fishing and other activities, attracting millions of people each year.

 

For more information about the MWCD, visit www.mwcd.org.

 

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