Boat day leads to potential algal bloom

Algal Blooms, Environmental, Fish Kills, Sound Rivers, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on June 13th, 2024

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register (right) shows intern Tierney Reardon reading on the YSI meter on the Pamlico River at Washington.

A routine Sound Rivers boat day led to the discovery of ideal algal bloom conditions at the Washington waterfront on the Pamlico River. 

Wednesday afternoon, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman, Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register and water-quality intern Tierney Reardon headed out from Mason’s Landing to make sure Sound Rivers’ Crestliner was running well, and after a trip upstream on Tranter’s Creek, the went to check out one of Sound Rivers’ camping platforms to assess any repairs that need to be made.

Then the Sound Rivers team headed to the Washington waterfront.

Water Quality Specialist Taylor Register and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman (right) take Sound Rivers’ Crestliner out for a wellness check on the Tar River, just west of the U.S. Highway 17 bridge.

“Our plan was to just wander around and show our intern, Tierney, how we check water quality conditions with the YSI meter, but it’s a really good thing we did that, since our YSI showed prime algal bloom conditions on the waterfront: extremely high dissolved oxygen and pH at the surface, and anoxic conditions and lower pH on the bottom,” Taylor said.

She said getting the boat out on the river serves a dual purpose, as illustrated on Wednesday.

“Boat days are super-important, not just to keep our fleet running smoothly in case we need to respond to issues on the water, but also to just monitor our waterways and keep an eye out for water-quality conditions that might indicate a problem,” Taylor said. “Because of our boat day, we discovered conditions that point towards a potential algal bloom in the near future, so now we have that on our radar to look out for.”

Sound Rivers water-quality intern Tierney Reardon taking in Tranter’s Creek in Washington.

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