Widespread ‘Rust Tide’ Hits Buzzards Bay

COURTESY OF THE BUZZARDS BAY COALITION

COURTESY OF THE BUZZARDS BAY COALITION

NEW BEDFORD – The first widespread “rust tide” in Buzzards Bay since 2012 was reported last month, according to the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

The “rust tide” is a bloom of a microscopic algae called Cochlodinium that tints the water reddish-brown and can be deadly to fish and shellfish due to a lack of oxygen in the water.

The bloom is caused by excess nitrogen pollution from septic systems, wastewater treatment plants, lawns, roads and farms combined with warm water temperatures and a lack of rain.

The “rust tide” was found in several harbors and coves in New Bedford and Dartmouth.

There were a few isolated reports on “rust tide” in 2013 and 2014.

“Rust tide” was first reported in Buzzards Bay in 2005 and have since become more common in the bay and in other northeast bodies of water in late summer.

Residents who see “rust tide or any unusual-looking water in Buzzards Bay are asked to report the sighting by calling 508-999-6363.

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