For release: Immediately Contact: Mike McLaughlin, 785-251-6880
Date: May 13, 2020
TOPEKA (KAN.) – Three Shawnee County Parks + Recreation waterways are part of a small Kansas Department of Health and Environment pilot test to see whether barley straw can serve as a preventive treatment for blue green algae. KDHE officials will be on hand Monday, May 18 to assist SCP+R staff in placing barley straw bales at Lake Shawnee, Central Park Pond and Doran Rock Garden Pond in Gage Park. The bales at Lake Shawnee will be placed in the cove area just south of the Lake Shawnee Adventure Cove (area where the Duck Race is held each year).
Baseline samples of water quality will be gathered prior to the installation of the barley straw bales which will be placed at a rate of seven bales per acre. KDHE will then collect data on the experiment, resampling the water bodies at three to four-week intervals through October.
According to Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agriculture Experiment Station https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs1171/ barley straw can help prevent blue green algae blooms although it does not kill existing algae. An article reports that there is positive anecdotal evidence that barley straw prevents some forms of algae but not all forms.
Lake Shawnee has been downgraded to a blue green algae watch since a warning was issued following a bloom of an early spring species of blue green algae. Blue green algae blooms usually occur due to the introduction of nutrients including nitrogen and phosphorous. These are commonly found in fertilizer but are also contained in goose droppings and other animal droppings.