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Harmful Algal Bloom Found at Amico Island Park

Press Release From the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders:

Harmful Algal Bloom Found at Amico Island Park

Mount Holly, NJ – In response to a tip from the public, Burlington County staff discovered a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) at Amico Island Park in Delran on Friday morning. On Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Environmental Protection confirmed the presence of HAB after testing was performed. Signs have been posted in and around Amico Island Park in Delran advising residents not to have contact with the water, including but not limited to swimming, wading, watersports and fishing. Pets and livestock should not come into contact with or drink the water. 

According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, HABs occur when algae grows out of control and produces large quantities of toxins with harmful effects to people, pets and other wildlife. While all causes of HABs are not known, certain conditions, such as sluggish water circulation and unusually high water temperatures have been marked as contributing factors. (Source: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/why_habs.html)

In some cases, algae growth has been attributed to nutrient pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies nutrient pollution to be one of America’s most widespread and costly environmental challenges. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous are part of every aquatic ecosystem, but human activity can introduce large and dangerous amounts of such nutrients into our streams, rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters.  Surplus nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algae to grow out of control, significantly decreasing the levels of oxygen and food in water for other aquatic life. Primary sources of nutrient pollution are large scale agriculture, stormwater, wastewater, fossil fuels and home fertilizers.

“At this time of year, environmental conditions are favorable to the formation of these HABs. So far this summer, we have seen three instances of Harmful Algae Blooms in Burlington County, first in Smithville Lake (Eastampton), last Friday in Sylvan Lake (Burlington Township) and now at Amico Island Pond (Delran Township),” said Dr. Herb Conaway, Director of Burlington County Health Department. “We will continue to monitor our county’s recreational lakes and ponds for signs of harmful algae blooms. If you see a suspected algae bloom, please call the health department at (609) 265-5548 or NJ Department of Environmental Protection at 877-WARNDEP.”

 To learn what an Algae bloom looks like, or about ways to reduce your environmental footprint, please visithttps://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/what-you-can-do to learn more.

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