Department of Environmental Conservation flags Forest Park’s Strack Pond for toxic algae

Photo courtesy of the Department of Environmental Conservation

Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) deemed Strack Pond in Forest Park “suspicious” of containing toxic algae on Aug. 30.

Based on visual observations from the pond, DEC staff identified what might be blue-green algae, which contains toxin-producing microscopic organisms called cyanobacteria. The agency has not yet confirmed whether Strack Pond contains this form of harmful algae bloom through testing.

Around the beginning of September, four bodies of water around the city were confirmed by the DEC to contain harmful levels of toxins. According to the DEC website, the Manhattan sites include the pond in Morningside Park and Turtle Pond and Harlem Meer in Central Park.

In Brooklyn, parts of Prospect Park Lake also were confirmed to contain the blue-green algae. Over the whole summer, the Parks Department surveyed a total of 26 waterbodies citywide and found harmful algae blooms in 10.

Councilman Robert Holden warned residents that they may see the Parks Department posting caution signs around the pond this week. He advised residents not wade, fish or drink the water near the algae. 

The algae blooms are especially treacherous for dogs who may lose consciousness or die if they swallow the contaminated water while swimming or licking the algae from their fur. 

“When enjoying fresh water features in city parks, it is important to try to avoid contact with any algae and keep pets on leashes and do not allow them to enter or drink from lakes and ponds unless in areas specifically designated for such activities,” a spokesperson for the Parks Department wrote in a statement.