Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB)
What are blue-green algae?
Blue-green algae can be considered as simple aquatic plants that exist naturally in marine waters, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Despite their name, blue-green algae are actually types of bacteria known as Cyanobacteria. When certain conditions are present, such as high nutrient and light levels, these organisms can reproduce rapidly. This dense growth of algae is called a bloom. Some of these blooms are harmless, but when the blooming organisms contain toxins, other noxious chemicals, pathogens, or other impacts to recreation or economic activities, it is known as a harmful algal bloom.
What does a typical blue-green
Some algae blooms can look like foam, or a thick slurry. The blooms can be blue, bright green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the water. Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water.
Why should I be aware of
Some blue-green algae produce toxins that could pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large enough quantities, yet the mere presence of blue-green algae is not a cause for alarm. Health effects could occur when surface scums or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, through contact with the skin or when airborne droplets containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, boating, and skiing. A large percentage of the public will report "allergic" type reactions after exposure to blue-green algae, such as intestinal problems, respiratory problems, or skin irritations.
What should I do if I see