ALGAE BLOOM UPDATE — While Hurricane Barry helped churn up the Gulf of Mexico waters & briefly increase salinity off the coast, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality collected water samples along parts of the Mississippi Gulf Coast yesterday.
Unfortunately, based off of the samples collected thus far, coastal waters still contain contents of the Harmful Algae Bloom(HAB). Only a few beach locations near Biloxi have been tested so far, and additional testing will be done to determine if this is a temporary presence of the previous algae bloom before Hurricane Barry.
Water Contact Warnings remain in effect for Mississippi Coastal beaches, and swimming in the waters is not recommended until more samples and testing is completed.
Coming in contact with the algae may cause cramps, rashes, vomiting, etc.
Salinity is pivotal in the growth or reduction of algae. The hope was that Hurricane Barry would push salt water back into areas that became more fresh water after the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway from the Mississippi River, which deposited high concentrations of fresh water into Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Sound.
The higher the salinity, the less likely the algae is to form.