Dangerous Algae Reported in 15 States, Not Jersey [AUDIO]
If you are planning a jaunt out of state, there's a toxic blue-green algae surfacing in some waterways, sickening people and killing pets.
There have been warnings and advisories issued as a result to make sure people stay away from the dangerous bacteria. At this point, it's not in New Jersey. But experts warn that could change on a dime.
Toxic algae can produce liver and nerve toxins that make people and pets sick, and even kill dogs. Last year's drought, followed by floods this spring, has increased the volume of chemical fertilizer and manure from crops and livestock operations that is entering waterways.
Scientists caution that these conditions will result in an increased number of HABs and associated lake closures.
For example, on July 2nd, NOAA issued the 2013 Lake Erie HAB forecast predicting a bloom that is larger than last year. In addition to public health threats, toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie are anticipated to have a significant effect on local economies by reducing lake related tourism.
"This form of algae is more like a bacteria than the traditional rootless plant seen floating at the surface," according to Dr. Michael Murray with the National Wildlife Federation. "It can produce liver and nerve toxins."
Contributing factors can range from the weather to pollution and storm water runoff.
You can get up to date information on Twitter regarding the warnings and advisories. Follow #toxicalgae to view warnings as they are posted
The following are troubled spots that have either been closed off to swimming or are dealing with this algae:
- California - Copco Reservoir
- Florida - Lake Harris
- Idaho - Fernan Lake
- Indiana - Hardy State Lake Recreation Area
- Iowa - Lake Macbride, south arm
- Kansas - Logan City Lake, Marion Reservoir, Memorial Park Lake (Veterans Lake), Milford Reservoir, South Lake
- Kentucky - Taylorsville Lake
- Massachusetts - Lake Attitash
- Nebraska - Lone Star Lake
- New York - Craine Lake, Lake Neatahwanata, Tuscarora Lake, Lake Lincolndale, Lake Sunnyside, Smith Pond, Beaver Lake, Oneida Lake
- Ohio - C.J. Brown Reservoir, East Fork Lake, Grand Lake St. Marys
- Oklahoma - Lake Texoma
- Oregon - Willow Creek Reservoir, Lost Creek Lake, Dexter Reservoir
- Vermont - Lake Champlain
- Washington - Anderson Lake, Rufus Woods Lake, Spanaway Lake, Waughop Lake, Lake Wilderness, Hideaway Lake
So why not New Jersey?
Dr. Murray feels because Jersey has such tough laws about fertilizer use, it could actually be helping to stave off the blooms. Although it's not here now, that could change. If you see any bloom that looks strange or you're concerned, be sure to contact the Department of Environmental Protection.
The algae is most common in waterways that are calmer like lakes, streams, reservoirs and even bays. They aren't as common in the Ocean due to the fast wave actions that can dissipate them even before they start getting out of hand.