RATHBUN LAKE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating potentially toxic algae blooms that have been found at numerous locations at Rathbun Lake, and has closed two of their beaches temporarily as a precaution.
The engineers said Monday that algae blooms have been discovered near the dam as well as upper lake areas. The blooms are unpredictable and can develop rapidly and float around the lake. Boaters and lake visitors should stay away from any areas that have a scum, paint-like surface or areas in which the water is bright green.
The Corps-managed beaches at Island View and Buck Creek are closed while testing is ongoing. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are still open for business and are not affected.
Toxin tests are being obtained and monitored by the Corps.
Dogs are highly susceptible to ill effects from the algae, the Corps warned. Pets that contact water affected by harmful algal bloom or that eat dried algae can become seriously ill or die.
Drinking water and showers at campgrounds are safe and not affected. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions, and it is safe to eat fish caught during the outbreak as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed. All other parts of the fish should be discarded and hands should be washed after the fish are handled.
It is unclear when the beaches will be re-opened. The Corps of Engineers office said they would release updates with new information as testing continues.
More information on algae bloom, including up-to-date conditions, can be found online at www.iowadnr.gov/Things-to-Do/Beach-Monitoring and www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/harmful-algal-blooms.
For additional information, contact Rathbun Lake at 641-647-2464.