Massive algae bloom invades areas of the Jersey Shore

A green blob invading the Jersey Shore is so large it can be seen from space. (7/11/14)

SEA BRIGHT - A green blob invading the Jersey Shore is so large it can be seen from space.

Maria Cimard-Rivera, a mother from Middletown, says the water in Sea Bright was clear two weeks ago and was surprised to see the brownish hue in the crashing waves. "I was very weary about my kids going into the water," she says.

The algae bloom is so massive a NASA satellite could see it. The image prompted the DEP to test the water, which revealed elevated levels of organisms called phytoplankton. The DEP says this kind is non-toxic and safe for swimming.  

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"This one's a very large bloom which is not unheard of before at the Jersey Shore," says Tim Dillingham, of the American Littoral Society. "They think the winds blowing the surface water is bringing lots of nutrients up from the deeper water, giving a rise to this bloom today."

The DEP map shows the biggest algae concentrations are in the Raritan Bay near Union Beach and along Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, and northern Long Branch.  

There is some concern though about what could happen to wildlife in the water when the algae dies off, because oxygen will be depleted from the water.

The last time there was significant algae like this was back in 2011. The good news is that winds have been shifting, which could help break it up and keep the algae from growing.  

The DEP says it will be monitoring the bloom for any changes.

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