Yuck. As we head into the 4th of July holiday weekend, an alarming alert for those planning a trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
4 additional beaches have been listed unsafe in Mississippi as a Harmful Algae Bloom(HAB) expands slowly east. According to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, 16 beach sites are now closed in Mississippi. Also, over a dozen beaches are now within an water quality advisory in Louisiana, and over a dozen fecal bacteria alerts in Texas.
All people and pets encouraged to STAY OUT of the water in algae impacted locations. Harmful, greenish-blue algae is filled with bacteria that can cause rashes, cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
In addition, eating seafood from algae impacted locations is not recommended.
This toxic algae bloom began 2-3 weeks ago as an ongoing result of the large amounts of nutrients, pesticides, fertilizers released into the Bonnet Carre Spillway opening from the record-high Mississippi River into Lake Pontchartrain.
The spillway opening is being blamed for high mortality rates of dolphins, oysters and other aquatic life, as well as the algae blooms plaguing Louisiana and Mississippi waters.
So, how long will it last? The Bonnet Carre Spillway is scheduled to close in 2-3 weeks, which should help somewhat with salt water returning to coastal waters. Unfortunately, this algae bloom has the potential to expand further as we get into the heart of the summer and water temperatures heat up.
NEW BEACHES IN MISSISSIPPI —
– Edgewater Beach in Biloxi
– Biloxi West Central Beach
– Front Beach in Ocean Springs
– Shearwater Beach in Ocean Springs
LINKS — Here’s a comprehensive list of links to access local beach closures & water qualities across the Gulf Coast:
LOUISIANA — http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/288