Associated Projects
Click to View More
Algal Blooms

Suffolk County’s marine waters are a huge economic driver for Long Island in their contributions to tourism, commerce, fishing, recreation, and more.  Safe and attractive waters play a key role in assuring the success of many of these activities.  However, with an increasing frequency, we are seeing what are known as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in various areas of our Suffolk County waterbodies.  Algal blooms in themselves are a natural and normal part of any healthy ecosystem, providing a primary level of food for the other organisms that live there.  These blooms are considered “harmful” when they are dominated by phytoplankton species that create conditions detrimental to the other biota in the system and/or to humans.  Brown tides (Aureococcus anophagefferens) in the Peconics and Great South Bay, red tides (Alexandrium fundyense and Cochlodinium polykrikoides) in Huntington and Shinnecock Bays, Dinophysis acuminate in Northport Harbor, and cyanobacteria (multiple species, which can affect fresh and salt water) are the primary examples.  They can have severe economic consequences through their impacts on habitat, shellfish populations, and fisheries.  Some can have serious human health impacts.  Resource managers have cause for concern, the public wants and needs more information, everyone is looking for solutions, and the time is right for an update, action plan, and strategy on this evolving issue.