Access to water prohibited until further notice
MEADE — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is advising the public to avoid contact with water in Meade State Fishing Lake, located 12 miles southwest of Meade in Meade County. Meade State Park is still open to campers and picnickers, but the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has closed access to the lake.

KDHE has confirmed there is a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the lake, prompting a public safety advisory. Concentrations of these algae exceed the recommended level of 100,000 cells/ml by the World Health Organization for recreational water use.

Blue-green algae are found in most surface waters and in heavy concentrations form an algae bloom. Blue-green algae blooms often resemble green paint floating on the water; in fact blooms are often mistaken as paint spills. When blue-green algae die, they can produce an unpleasant smell. These blooms can cause a number of concerns, including production of toxins in the water affecting people, pets, and potentially fish and shellfish.

Algae blooms often result when nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) are present in the water and when temperature and other environmental conditions stimulate algae growth. The blooms result from long-term build up of nutrients in the water body. Concentrations of blue-green algae in water vary on a daily or even hourly basis due to prevailing winds and currents. In time, algae blooms naturally die off.

KDHE recommends the following precautions be taken at Meade State Lake:

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

Exposure to toxins from the algae can cause illness and is dependent on the route of the exposure. 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 water spray from jet-skiing 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 lake water, seek medical care from your healthcare provider.

Animals, especially dogs, can also become ill. Ingestion of the water by pets or cleaning of their coats after contact with water are two common routes of exposure for animals. If your pet becomes ill soon after contact with the water, contact your veterinarian immediately.

KDHE and KDWP will continue to monitor the situation and rescind the advisory as soon as conditions warrant.

KDHE can be contacted during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, at 785-296-5500 if anyone has additional questions or concerns. To contact KDWP, phone the Meade State Park Office at 620-873-2572 or Mike Miller at the KDWP Pratt Operations Office, 620-672-0765.

Further information on algae and algae blooms can be found at online at .