UPDATE: Precautionary Measures Lifted at Lake Kittamaqundi & Lake Elkhorn

October 7, 2022
Lake Elkhorn

At the voluntary request of CA, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) conducted tests in the three major lakes owned and maintained by CA, as well as Jackson Pond. That proactive testing showed the presence of blue-green algae in Lake Kittamaqundi and Lake Elkhorn.

The results of follow up testing shows the toxin levels in both Lake Kittamaqundi and Lake Elkhorn are too low to be considered harmful or dangerous. That means the precautionary measures that were briefly put into effect are no longer in place. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping the community safe!

What is blue-green algae?

It’s important to note that the presence of algae does not mean that a lake is not healthy. According to MDE, algae are an important part of aquatic ecosystems and form the basis of aquatic food webs. Most algae aren’t toxic.

Harmful blue-green algal blooms (HABs), however, happen when algae grows out of control. This is a natural occurrence largely driven by excess nutrients in the water. Certain varieties of HABs can be toxic to humans, animals and aquatic wildlife. You can’t tell whether a bloom is harmful or not by looking at it, so officials say: When in doubt, keep out. You can learn more about algae growths here.

HABs have been found in every U.S. coastal state, including Maryland. Earlier this summer, Centennial Lake had to be shut down due to a HAB. 

Imiivo Family portraits

How does CA proactively protect our lakes?

CA’s watershed management team routinely monitors our community’s lakes and ponds, testing them for harmful bacteria. The experts on CA’s staff have decades of experience in this field and work closely with state agencies to ensure the health of our waterways. We also respond to individual resident concerns that arise, including those regarding abnormal vegetation. 

If something is reported and/or appears to be potentially dangerous, CA reaches out to MDE for testing. After consulting with those partners, we will carefully consider the best course of action for the health of our community and the lake’s ecosystem.

Harmful or not, algae blooms are a natural occurrence that are driven largely by excess nutrients. If you want to help prevent harmful blooms from occurring, you can do your part by limiting the amount of chemicals or non-organic materials on your property. 

If you have questions on this or any topic concerning our open space and lakes, please email OpenSpace.ResourceRequests@columbiaassociation.org

Imiivo Family portraits
Share this post