Four Kansas lakes remain closed because of high levels of toxic algae.
Lake management officials have posted warning signs prohibiting recreational activity at the lakes, which include:
• Marion Reservoir in Marion County
• Old Herington City Lake in Dickinson County
• Logan City Lake in Phillips County
• Memorial Veterans Lake in Barton County
People are cautioned against direct contact with the water and urged to not allow animals to it.
The closings — earlier in the year than usual — come after the Kansas Department of Health and Environment began issuing warnings in May.
The department has also issued health advisories for South Lake in Overland Park and Lowell Reservoir in Jewell County. Fishing and boating may be safe under the advisory, but the department still strongly discourages swimming or any other direct contact with the water.
A health advisory at Cedar Bluff Reservoir in Trego County was lifted this week.
Both warnings and advisories caution fishers to rinse their catches with clean water and discard all but the fillet parts.
Miranda Steele, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the increase may be driven in part by the unseasonably hot weather Kansas is experiencing, which promotes the growth of large algae blooms.
Blue-green algae are a natural part of lake ecosystems but can create toxic conditions in great quantities.
Last year, the department detected higher toxicity levels related to the algae in Kansas lakes, and issued more warnings, than ever before. It confirmed seven human illnesses related to harmful algae blooms, as well as the deaths of five dogs.
Another factor driving up the number of warnings, Steele said, might be increased awareness among the public. After algae toxicity emerged as a critical health concern in 2010, the department began soliciting reports from the public and posting safety information on a website devoted toharmful algae blooms
Several disappointed fishers and campers have turned back from Marion County Reservoir after learning of the warning, said Emily Coffin, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranger at the lake. Earlier this week, when the water was tested, large patches of the water were covered with a blue-green slurry of algae.
Missouri has closed no lakes, a spokesman said.