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Algae bloom in water closes 4 more spots along South Mississippi beaches

Algae bloom is closing Mississippi Coast beaches

A green-blue algae is blooming in the Mississippi Sound, fueled by the Mississippi River fresh water filled with sediments. That algae can cause major health risks and adds to the issues caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway.
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A green-blue algae is blooming in the Mississippi Sound, fueled by the Mississippi River fresh water filled with sediments. That algae can cause major health risks and adds to the issues caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway.

It hasn’t gone anywhere.

Blue-green algae blooms, usually found in fresh water, began forming in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Sound after officials opened the Bonnet Carré Spillway on May 10, the second time in 2019. The Army Corps of Engineers began closing the spillway in late July.

The algae has closed the waters along beaches in South Mississippi. Coming in contact with the toxic blooms can be harmful to humans, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

On Monday, MDEQ announced four new areas had tested positive for the algae, in addition to the 21 stations that are regularly sampled each year.

Those areas are along beaches in Harrison County:

  • From Davis Avenue to Donlin Avenue in Pass Christian
  • From Arbor Station Drive Lang Avenue in Long Beach
  • From Mason Avenue to South Burke Avenue in Long Beach
  • From Lewis Avenue to Hardy Avenue in Gulfport

In total, 25 areas have been closed this summer do to the alga blooms, according to MDEQ. Orange flags warning visitors to stay out of the water can be found in affected areas. Hancock County also adopted its own new warning system to alert beachgoers of the affected closures.

“As a reminder, these warnings refer to water contact only and do not prohibit or restrict recreational use of the sand portion of any beach,” said MDEQ Executive Director Gary Rikard.

A water contact warning issued July 2 remains in effect for a segment of the Jourdan River in Hancock County, from the mouth of the Interstate 10 bridge to mouth of the river into the St. Louis Bay.

Jeremy Forte's family seafood business has never seen a shrimp season as bad as this year. Not only are they seeing the affects of the Bonnet Carré on the ecosystem, but the algae warnings for seafood has been detrimental to their business.

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