Online Originals: Riverkeepers monitoring waters for algae blooms across ENC


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — It’s that time of the year where riverkeepers expect to hear calls about toxic algae. Even with that expectation, officials say toxic algae blooms aren’t normal, and they’re a sign of these waters being in distress. 

Riverkeepers say blooms are caused by a variety of factors, like sanitary sewer overflows and stormwater runoff. They say a major factor in North Carolina is runoff from industrial animal agricultural operations. Experts warn to keep an eye for these blooms and to keep you and any of your pets away from these waters. 

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Toxic Algae Bloom from the Albemarle-Pamlico Region (2019)

Jill Howell works for Sound Rivers and keeps track of the Tar, Pamlico and Neuse river regions. She’s concerned about how humans have impacted the area.  

Last October, there were active fish kills on the Pamlico River and the Neuse River that lasted for a month, which is really way too long and highlighting how intense this problem is. 

Jill Howell, Sound Rivers

Howell asks for anyone who notices algae blooms to report it.  You can also monitor reports with the NC DWR Fish Kill and Algal Bloom Report Dashboard.

Fish Kill and Algal Bloom Dashboard (via website)

For information on Sound Rivers “Splash For Trash” cleanup click here

You can also learn more about water quality and if they’re safe for recreational activities with Sound Rivers weekly swim guide.

Three recreational sites fail latest Sound Rivers Swim Guide test 

Here are the current conditions for the week of July 23rd:

Upper Neuse
Smithfield Town Commons failed its Swim Guide test this week. Take precautions if recreating at this site. All other sites were good to go!

Lower Neuse
Of the samples taken on the Lower Neuse this week, three failed:  Midyette Street, Pierce Creek and Rice Creek, all in Oriental.

The Tar-Pamlico came back clear AGAIN this week, a sign it’s time to get out on the water this weekend!


Follow Victoria Holmes on Twitter @VicAntHol

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