Last week, the Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it was closing Chalk Ridge Falls Park near Stillhouse Hollow Lake, following a dog that developed respiratory problems on Aug. 21.
According to a press release from the USACE, the dog’s owner took their pet to a local veterinarian and the dog had to be euthanized.
At this time, it is suspected that the cause of this incident was due to the presence of blue-green algae also known as cyanobacteria. Water samples are currently being tested for that organism.
Clay Church, Public Affairs Specialist with the Fort Worth District of the USACE, said that receiving results takes time for these types of water quality testing.
“It will be middle part of September before results are known and decisions can be made for allowing public to once again visit the area,” Church said in an email on Monday. “Some media reports last week were not accurate when reporting the temporary closing of Chalk Ridge Falls Park.”
In its press release, the USACE explained how cyanobacteria have the potential to produce toxins that can be life threatening to people and pets.
This aquatic organism most commonly presents risks to people and pets when the population grows rapidly to produce sufficient toxin levels in the water. This rapid population growth is known as a bloom.
Cyanobacteria blooms typically form in warm, slow-moving waters that are rich in nutrients.
Blooms are sometimes observed as colored bluish and/or greenish films on the water’s surface.
Blooms can also look like scum layers or algae mats on the water’s surface that most commonly occur near shorelines where wind and wave action accumulate them.
When blooms die, the water can have a bad rotting odor.
“As a simple rule, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommends that people and pets stay out of water that has visible colored surface films, scum layers and/or algae mats.
“It is also best to avoid stagnant areas where there’s little to no water movement and where the water has a bad odor.”
Also, pets should be controlled on a six feet or shorter leash and should not be allowed to enter water with the above-described conditions and should not be allowed to ingest such waters.
Chalk Ridge Falls Park remains closed due to the death of a dog from possible blue-green algae in the park’s waters.