Harmful Algae Blooms in Maryland, Not Toxic to Animals - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Harmful Algae Blooms in Maryland, Not Toxic to Animals

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

WORCESTER COUNTY, Md.- The blue-green algae that caused three dogs to die in North Carolina are not the same algae that bloom in Maryland waters annually.

The blooms that occur in Maryland marine waters have been limited to small fish Kills caused by oxygen depletion, according to the Environmental Programs Director Bob Mitchell.

"You would need a pretty extensive bloom occurring that could produce enough toxin to affect marine life or land-based animals," Mitchell said. "Fortunately, of the more than 700 species of algae in our bays, less than 2% of them are believed to have the ability to produce toxic substances."

Kathy Phillips works for the Assateague Coastal Trust as the Assateague Coastkeeper. She said blue-green algae can form in stagnant water. If the algae gets enough sunlight and oxygen, it can grow and populate.

Blue-green algae appears most often as thick green, white or reddish-brown scum on the surface of water. Phillips stressed how the runoff from litter is also dangerous to water.

"When it rains, it's going into the storm drains. And for us in the coastal bays, for Ocean City, that means everything is washing back into the bays," said Phillips. "Everyone just has to understand that while they might not be able to see the water, whatever they are doing on the land is impacting our waterways."

If you see blue-green algae, you should avoid contact and recreational activities where swallowing water can happen.

Reports can be made to the Department of Natural Resources, Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division at 410-260-8630.

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