Could harmful algae bloom make its way to Alabama coast

Mobile County

DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — A harmful algae is blooming along the coast of Mississippi. Several more beaches closed Tuesday and Wednesday as a result.

Vacationers are on Dauphin Island for the Fourth of July holiday, but some tell News 5, they’re watching the water, unsure if they’re ready to dive in.

“It’s going to worry me,” said one vacationer.

There is a concern for some visitors to Dauphin Island. As harmful algae bloom forces closures of beaches in Mississippi.

“No one wants it,” said Chuck Stefan, a Dauphin Island resident.

But, scientists at Dauphin Island Sea Lab say, this isn’t red tide.

Blue-green algae is normally something that blooms in freshwater.

“When they’re doing well in freshwater systems, they can produce toxins. and those toxins can have multiple kinds of effects,” said Dr. Alison Robertson, a senior marine scientist at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

They explain it is not common to see this kind of algae along the coastline, because it doesn’t do well in salt water.

“We don’t have the data to know if they are continuing to produce toxins as they bloom on the coast,” said Dr. Robertson.

Researchers say most of the closures of the beaches in Mississippi are out of an abundance of caution.

“There’s a very very low chance of any human health effects associated with being in the water,” said Dr. Robertson.

Scientists say there is still a chance that the blue-green algae could come to Alabama waters, but they have yet to see it.

“Whether or not the conditions are favorable for the growth and expansion of these blue-green algae, it’s really difficult to say. but circulation patterns could bring material from there to here,” said Dr. Brian Dzwonkowski, a research scientist at Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Some say they’re not worried at all. “I would get in the water personally,” said Stefan.

Dauphin Island Sea Lab researchers say they’re closely monitoring the waters off Dauphin Island for the algae.

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