Public Notices, Project Updates, and Alerts

Updated November 29, 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 due to harmful algal blooms or other safety concerns.

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

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.

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 or higher, boating is permitted on a no-wake, idle-speed basis only.

CL flag color graphic without black