Saturday, September 7, 2019

Brown Algae Bloom

 There have been a number of recent reports of an algae bloom in Boston Harbor and elsewhere around the region which has stained the water a chocolate brown.

Staff from the MWRA, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the MA Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) have collected and analyzed samples of the bloom and determined that the culprit is a naturally occurring algae, Karenia mikimotoi, and that similar blooms have recently been reported elsewhere in the Gulf of Maine.

The culprit: Karenia Mikimotoi, is a naturally occurring nuisance algae.

 Though the drop in dissolved oxygen levels caused by the bloom can affect fish and shellfish, DMF reports that Karenia  mikimotoi  is NOT a public health concern, and that the water is safe for boating, fishing and swimming.

"Algae blooms like this one are fairly common" said Save the Harbor/Save the Bay's Director of Strategy and Communications Bruce Berman, who has been working closely with the MWRA to monitor the situation. "This one has lasted longer and is more extensive than most we have seen in the region in recent years. "

"Though it doesn't pose a threat to human health like the recent blue green algae bloom in the Charles River, we are concerned that blooms like this may become more common as a result of warmer water caused by climate change" said Berman. "We are glad that the MWRA and state agencies are working together with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and other stakeholders to understand and address the situation."

The MWRA is keeping a close watch on the bloom and dissolved oxygen levels in the harbor, and will be conducting additional surveys after the storm.

For more information please contact Bruce Berman at, or on his cell at 617-293-6243.

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