photo of geese at Lake Needwood

Elevated Microcystin Levels Reported at Lake Needwood and Lake Frank, Visitors Advised to Use Caution

photo of geese at Lake NeedwoodMontgomery Parks officials are advising residents to use caution when recreating on or near Lake Needwood and Lake Frank which are both located at Rock Creek Regional Park.

Testing has shown there are elevated levels of microcystin, a toxic substance produced by some species of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), in both lakes. Microcystin, a hepatotoxin, can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets if ingested. Of particular concern, according to Montgomery Parks, are dogs that are off-leash and may swim and/or drink from the lake, despite park regulations.

“Signs have been posted around Lake Needwood and Lake Frank and along trails that access the lakes to ensure visitors are aware that elevated levels of microcystin have been found, and to urge visitors to take precautions to avoid themselves or their pets ingesting microsystin,” said Jai Cole, natural resources manager for Montgomery Parks. “Portions of both lakes may be contaminated for the rest of the season. We will continue to monitor and update signs when the warning is lifted.”

Montgomery Parks officials urge visitors to take the following precautions:

–Park visitors are encouraged to avoid direct contact with water while boating or fishing.
–Notice that swimming is prohibited in the lake at all times.
–Keep dogs on leash (as is regularly required at the park), and do not allow them to drink or be in contact with the water.
–Wash hands thoroughly prior to eating, drinking, or smoking if someone comes in contact with the water.
–Only eat properly cooked muscle meat of fish that are caught in the lake.
–Recreational activities including boating and fishing will remain open at the lake.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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