Public Notices, Project Updates, and Alerts

June 15, 2018

Normal Boating Activity Resumes at Chippewa Lake, but Warning Remains in Effect

An Elevated Recreational Public Health Advisory for Chippewa Lake has been lifted and normal boating activity may resume, after levels of algal toxins dropped below 20 parts per billion in two consecutive weekly water tests. However, a Recreational Public Health Advisory remains in place, warning children, pregnant or nursing women, individuals with certain medical conditions, and pets to avoid contact with the water.

Samples collected June 12 indicated microcystin levels of 18.1 ppb. This follows test results showing levels of 11.7 ppb on June 5 and levels of 21.2 ppb on May 29.

Per Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy for Recreational Waters, a Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued when toxin levels reach 6 ppb. It warns vulnerable persons as well as pets to avoid contact with the water. When toxin levels reach 20 ppb, an Elevated Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued, warning all persons and pets to avoid all contact with the water, and boating activity is limited to an idle-speed, no-wake basis. Warnings stay in effect until two consecutive tests taken at least one week apart show levels have dropped below these thresholds.

Algal blooms occur due to a combination of factors including water temperature, rainfall, and nutrient runoff within the watershed. The Chippewa Lake algal bloom is the result of a microscopic organism called cyanobacteria. Its blooms can produce harmful toxins that may make people and pets sick when they come into contact with the water.

In early May, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency notified the park district that satellite imagery indicated the presence of an algal bloom in Chippewa Lake. The park district has conducted weekly water tests since receiving notification.


June 13, 2018

Warning Flag System in Place at Chippewa Lake

A new warning flag system will alert boaters and swimmers to water conditions at Chippewa Lake in the event of an algal bloom or flooding.

The flags -- which will be posted on a flagpole at the public boat ramp on the southwest corner of the lake and be visible from other locations around the lake -- are color coded. Color keys posted at the boat ramp, public beaches, and private boat launch areas explain what each flag means:

Green -- Lake open

Yellow -- Boating permitted at idle speed only

Orange -- Warning: algal toxins present

Red -- Danger: avoid contact with the water

Black -- Lake closed

Previously, park rangers posted and removed warning signs from multiple locations around the lake on an as-needed basis. The flags are more visible and allow for faster public notification than the signs, said Chief Ranger David Swinehart. The new system offers the added benefit of being able to post a combination of flags. For example, a high level of algal toxins may warrant both yellow and red flags being flown.

Chippewa Lake is closed during flood events, indicated by a black flag, due to boating hazards posed by submerged objects and because of potential wake damage to shoreline property.

Algal blooms occur due to a combination of factors including water temperature, rainfall, and nutrient runoff within the watershed. Chippewa Lake algal blooms have been the result of a microscopic organism called cyanobacteria. Its blooms can produce harmful toxins that may make people and pets sick when they come into contact with the water.

Per Ohio’s Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy for Recreational Waters, a Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued when toxin levels reach 6 ppb. It warns children, pregnant or nursing women, individuals with certain medical conditions, and pets to avoid contact with the water. When toxin levels reach 20 ppb, an Elevated Recreational Public Health Advisory is issued, warning all persons and pets to avoid all contact with the water. At 20 ppb, boating is permitted on a no-wake, idle-speed basis only.

With toxin levels currently at 18.1 ppb, Chippewa Lake remains under a Recreational Public Health Advisory. Medina County Park District will continue to monitor the lake as needed. Please watch park district social media and www.MedinaCountyParks.com for updates.

Chippewa Lake Flag Colors graphic