Fishing, boating allowed, swimming and other water activities still prohibited
MANKATO —Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) Secretary Mike Hayden has rescinded a previous order and partially opened Lovewell Reservoir. The lake is now open for pleasure boating and fishing; however, due to current blue-green algae levels, water activities such as swimming, skiing, and personal watercraft are prohibited until further notice.

On July 16, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a public health advisory after confirming a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the reservoir, which led to the KDWP Secretary’s Order. Concentrations of algae in the reservoir exceeded the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended level of 100,000 cells/ml for recreational water use. Elevated levels of toxins from the algae were also confirmed.

Questions should be directed to the Lovewell State Park Office at 785-753-4971.

The following precautions should still be taken at Lovewell Reservoir:

  • avoid ingesting reservoir water;
  • avoid swimming or wading in reservoir water;
  • avoid consuming any fish or shellfish from the reservoir until further notice because fish and shellfish may absorb toxins from the bloom; and
  • keep pets from having contact with the water.

Contact with the water, such as wading or swimming, can cause a skin rash, as well as eye, ear and throat irritation. Ingestion or inhaling aerosols (such as from personal watercraft or boating) of contaminated water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, fatigue and flu-like symptoms. If you develop similar symptoms after contact with the reservoir water, seek medical care from your healthcare provider.

Animals, especially dogs, can also become ill as a result of coming into contact with, or ingesting the water. If your pet becomes ill soon after contact with the water, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Officials will continue to monitor the situation and rescind the entire advisory as soon as conditions warrant.