Algae are plant-like organisms that live in freshwater and saltwater. Like plants, algae are essential elements of their water environments.
When water conditions are just right, sometimes algae will grow rapidly creating an algal bloom. Some types of algae create toxins, and in large quantities, these toxins can cause serious problems for people, animals, and the local environment.
An algal bloom becomes harmful if:
You should learn how to recognize an algal bloom, and avoid the water if you suspect a bloom. Links to the following pages have information on saltwater and freshwater blooms, including how to report a suspected algal bloom, and what to do if you or a pet may have been exposed to a harmful algal bloom.