September 11, 2019

Montgomery Parks Reports Elevated Microcystin Levels at Lake Needwood; Visitors Asked to Use Caution

Lake Needwood
Montgomery Parks officials advise residents to use caution when recreating on or near Lake Needwood and Lake Frank located within Rock Creek Regional Park. Testing indicates elevated levels of microcystin, a toxic substance produced by some species of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), in Lake Needwood. Signs have been posted along the lakes and trails to alert visitors of the elevated microcystin levels.

Microcystin, a hepatotoxin, can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets if ingested. Of particular concern are dogs that are off-leash and may swim and/or drink from the lake, despite park regulations.

Montgomery Parks urges visitors to take the following precautions:
  • Avoid direct contact with water while boating or fishing.
  • Swimming is prohibited in lakes 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 coming 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 will remain open at the lake.

For updates, or more information, visit the Montgomery Parks website.