Montgomery Parks Report Elevated Levels of Algae Toxin at Lake Needwood

Pet Owners are Urged to Keep Dogs Out of the Lake

Montgomery Parks officials are asking residents to use caution when recreating on or near Lake Needwood and Lake Frank at Rock Creek Regional Park.

That’s because testing has shown there are elevated levels of microcystin, a toxic substance produced by some species of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), in Lake Needwood. Microcystin can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets if ingested. Parks officials are particularly concerned with dogs that are off-leash and may swim and/or drink from the lake.

lake needwood for slider 450x280Montgomery Parks officials urge visitors to take the following precautions:

  • Park visitors are encouraged to avoid direct contact with water while boating or fishing.
  • 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, remain open at the lake.

Signs have been posted around Lake Needwood and Lake Frank and along trails that access the lakes to ensure visitors are aware of the elevated levels of microcystin Portions of both lakes may be contaminated for the rest of the season. Montgomery Parks will continue to monitor the lakes and update the signs when the warning is lifted.

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