MARION COUNTY (KSNT) – Hazardous blue-green algae has been found in a large Kansas lake, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks said on Thursday.

Algae found in the water is at a hazardous level due to the high toxins and high cell count found in Marion Reservoir. The public is being asked to avoid the reservoir and is closing all parks, boat ramps and recreation areas near the water.

This form of algae may resemble foam, scum or paint that floats on the water. It may have a blue, bright green, brown or red coloration. This bloom can develop very rapidly and people should steer clear if they see any algae.

The toxins from the blooms can be ingested, inhaled or contracted through the skin. Symptoms can range depending on the form of exposure but include rash, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, sore throat and headache.

The advisory for Marion Reservoir is the only body of water that is currently ranked with a hazard status in Kansas. A hazard status indicates that the harmful algal bloom is present and that extreme conditions exist. With this status, either parts of the lake or the whole lake will be closed to the public. If necessary, nearby land may also be closed. If partial closures are present, the remaining lake areas will have a warning status.

Last month, the KDHE identified other lakes with the same form of algae. Some other waterbodies which continue to have active warning status include:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County 
  • Colwich City Lake, Sedgwick County 
  • Gathering Pond, Geary County 
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County

With a warning status in place, conditions are not recommended for human or pet exposure and the water should be avoided. It is not safe to drink water or consume dried algae for pets or livestock. Fish from the water can be eaten as long as they are cleaned and only the fillet is used. If water touches skin, people are encouraged to wash with clean water immediately.

The KDHE investigates public water bodies when agencies receive reports of potential blooms in the lakes. If you are observing any of the conditions previously stated, the KDHE recommends that contact is avoided and pets are kept away. Pet owners should practice caution and keep their animals from swimming or drinking the affected waters because of the risk of death or serious illness.

All potential exposures, pet and human, should be reported to the KDHE. For more information on the algal blooms or to report sightings, please visit