Algae Bloom Expands in Coastal Community

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Algae Bloom Expands in Coastal Community

On 9/26/22 the algae bloom, located in the lower New River in the Sneads Ferry area, has expanded and continues to grow. The bloom, seen here was observed at 34.537576, -77.374597.

Photos and observations were sent to Chris Stewart, Daniel Wiltsie, and Mark Vanderborgh at NCDEQ.

Blooms can last this long because they continue to be fed by nutrient pollutants, most likely from runoff.

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch will continue to monitor this bloom and continue to report to the State and notify the public.

Last week, CCRW Waterkeeper, Riley Lewis, took a sample of the water in the middle of the bloom (near 34.568703, -77.394870). The site was accessed by drone and a sample was taken from the middle of the bloom.

The pictures were shared with staff at UNCW (Dr. Mallin’s lab) and ID was confirmed via the photos.

The water had a red tint and was very smelly (both signs of a potentially harmful bloom). I was able to ID the plankton as a type of marine dinoflagellates “Cochlodinium” which causes red tides and is known for causing fish kills around the world. The toxin they produce is harmful to finfish and shellfish but not much is known about this organism’s toxicity to humans. Best to be safe and keep people and pets out of the water.

– Riley Lewis, White Oak Waterkeeper




VIDEO: RIDER, 09.21.22

Harmful Algae Blooms can be influenced by manmade pressures including the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and impervious surfaces. These contaminants flow into waterways and harm the organisms that live there. The best way to prevent Fish Kills is by stopping these contaminants from getting into waterways in the first place.

Residents of coastal communities can make a big difference by following proper application instructions on pesticides and fertilizers. Only use as much as you need, where you need it and do not apply them before wet weather.

Residents can also ensure to properly dispose of lawn clippings and plant debris to prevent them from entering waterways, where they can add excess nutrients and cloud the water.

Communities can prevent Harmful Algae Blooms by implementing good stormwater management and by familiarizing themselves with coastal processes and how water moves through the property.

For more info about local water quality information, please contact:

Riley Lewis,

White Oak Waterkeeper

Coastal Carolina Riverwatch


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