Algal blooms an increasing concern for ENC as summer approaches
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, harmful algal blooms are an increasing concern in Eastern North Carolina waterways. Many factors lead to algal blooms, such as elevated temperatures, low water flow, and an increase in nutrients entering a waterbody. Areas like the Chowan River and Albermarle Sound have experienced toxic algal blooms each summer for the past seven years. Dan Wiltsie with the Division of Water Quality says blooms have already been reported this spring in the Little River and Pasquotank River. Wiltsie adds that the lack of rainfall and dry conditions that Eastern North Carolina is currently experiencing can exacerbate algal bloom formation. Still, he says algal blooms are difficult to predict so they rely on the public’s help to track when and where they occur. An online reporting form is available on the DEQ website. There’s also a dashboard that tracks current algal blooms throughout the state. Wiltsie warns that some algae produce toxins that can cause adverse health effects in humans and pets, so the public is urged to stay away from algal blooms.