Buffalo River Algae Causing Concerns

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NORTH ARKANSAS — Algae blooms is on the rise in the Buffalo River.

The National Park Service says there’s been significant growth in certain parts of the river this summer. 

Park officials say some algae growth is not uncommon. However, the amount they’re seeing is cause for concern.

‘It seems to be getting worse,” said Caven Clark, Public Information Officer for the Buffalo National River.

The extreme heat this summer and nutrients in the water such as phosphorous can cause increased algae. But Clark says with them having only 11-percent control over the watershed, they don’t have a say about what goes on outside of that watershed, in terms of land management. 

“There are things that are happening that are probably increasing, I should say definitely increasing the amount of phosphorous and other nutrients in the river, which would contribute to the algae blooms,” Clark said.

Clark also said that visitors to the Buffalo River should be aware.  

“The most vulnerable populations, would be children, people with suppressed immune systems..and your dogs,” said Clark, “Dogs seem to be particularly vulnerable to the kind of toxins that are in the algae.”

As for those who love spending leisure time at the Buffalo Rive, the algae bloom is a concern.

“It concerns me that I didn’t know it was potentially ..Because there were no..I would think there would be signs or something. But I don’t know,” White said, “They may not want to scare people off and that’s what it would do.” 

“I don’t think I would come back again..until I found out..until they have discovered more about it,” said White.

However, there are some people who won’t let algae bloom scare them off.

 “You know I hate to say it’s common sense, but it is common sense. You don’t want to get in it if you see a large accumulation of it,” said Clark.

Clark added that their main concern is public health. He says they’re working with the “Arkansas Game and Fish,” the “Arkansas Department of Environmental Health,” and “The U.S. Geological Survey,” to tests the algae — to determine if it poses any health dangers.   
 

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