Algae bloom is not as bad, but Mississippi Sound is far from healthy

Algae bloom is not as bad, but Mississippi Sound is far from healthy
A Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality employee carries a water sample from the Mississippi Sound after collecting it in Gulfport on Tuesday. (Source: John Fitzhugh)

HARRISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Every day, a team of scientists is working to track the harmful algae bloom that has closed much of the water in the Mississippi Sound.

The good news, based on test results through Monday, it looks like the event is coming off of “bloom” status, the worst of three stages of an event. However, it could be a long time before the Mississippi Sound is back to normal.

Scientists with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality are testing about 30 samples a day for salinity and two types of bacteria blooms.

“In the past we’ve seen it take about two weeks to a month to get back to what we would say is a pre-spillway ecosystem,” said Kristina Broussard, Harmful Algal Blooms director for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “However we haven’t seen this long of an opening before so that answer could change after the spillway closes.”

Test results indicate that salinity is still very low in the western Mississippi Sound because of the freshwater from the Bonnet Carre’ Spillway opening, but it is rising in the eastern Sound to about seven to nine parts per thousand. Normally, salinity would be around 20 parts per thousand.

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