Volunteer worries toxic algae in McKinley Park pond will worsen

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The McKinley Park pond is home to fish and a variety of waterfowl. 

But right now, they are in danger because of what’s growing in the water, said Judy McClaver, who spoke with FOX40 Tuesday over the phone.

“As the pond warms up, more of this algae grows,” McClaver explained.

As a volunteer member of the McKinley Park Pond Advisory Board, McClaver helps look after the body of water. As a retired medical worker, she knows her science.

“This red stuff is a protozoa. The green stuff is an actual algae. So, the protozoa eats this algae,” she said about the toxic algae in the pond.

Those organisms are not the signs of a healthy pond.

“The other thing that can occur in there is botulism, stale water, it’s botulism. That is harmful to the wildlife,” McClaver said. “It’ll paralyze your dog too if he drinks enough.”

McClaver is warning people to keep their pets away from the water and she’s been communicating with the parks department.

She said the pond is equipped with pumps and aerators capable of adding oxygen to the water, keeping it moving and preventing it from getting too hot. All of that can improve the water quality.

But McClaver said the pumps are prone to overheating, so the city doesn’t run them during the day.

A parks department spokeswoman told FOX40 in an email, “The city has a contractor that monitors City ponds. The contractor is being notified of the rust color in the pond and will investigate. The pond’s aerator pump operates at night.”

“If you hire somebody to do some work for you, do you not oversee that it’s getting done right or that there aren’t problems?” McClaver said. “This red protozoa is just going to get worse until the temperature in the pond gets reduced and better aeration occurs.”

The fish in the pond help control the mosquito population. McClaver said it’s important to keep them healthy to help prevent West Nile virus.

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