Harmful algal blooms expected over the weekend in Lafayette and York rivers; at Ocean View, Chic’s Beach


(Photo courtesy: Chesapeake Bay Foundation/American Multimedia Solutions)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The water in Hampton Roads is expected to play host to a large number of harmful algal blooms over the weekend.

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Officials with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) captured photos of the blooms near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel on Thursday. They say the blooms can also be found at Ocean View in Norfolk, Chic’s Beach in Virginia Beach, and in the Lafayette and York rivers.

“The harmful algae blooms in Virginia this summer keep people from enjoying the water on a hot day and can harm our valuable fish and shellfish populations. They’re also an unfortunate reminder that we still have a lot of work to do to ensure clean, healthy waterways,” said CBF Senior Scientist Chris Moore.

The blooms will appear in the water as reddish-brown.

They are common in Hampton Roads and are fueled by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution. After the blooms break down, they cause oxygen-depleted dead zones in the water where fish, crabs, oysters, and other aquatic life cannot survive. 

Officials say the blooms can threaten the health of people, pets, fish, and shellfish. Those at the beach or near the waterways should stay out of the water if they notice discolored or murky water that may have an unusual smell.

“The solution is clear. We must increase state and federal investment in programs that reduce pollution from agriculture, stormwater, and wastewater,” Moore added. “Virginia can also take an important step forward by setting water quality standards linked to reducing harmful algal blooms.”

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