Ponds Closed Due To Blue-Green Algae Bloom

Mashapaug Pond in Providence brings to six the number of state ponds now closed by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) due to blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. From the ProJo:

The state says the algae could be forming on other lakes and ponds. Here’s what people should look for: “The water may look like green paint, thick pea soup, or green cottage cheese,” the state says in a press release.

Eeew. (The ProJo has a more vivid DEM photo.) As of this morning, the water in Mashapaug Pond still looked mostly like water . . . there was even a family of swans paddling about. But don’t be fooled; the toxins may persist even when the algae bloom is no longer visible. The DEM warns:

People should be careful not to ingest water or eat fish from the ponds. All recreation, including fishing, boating, and kayaking, should be avoided. Animals who may ingest pond water are especially at risk from exposure to the algal toxins, so owners should not allow pets to drink or swim in the water.

Skin contact with water containing blue-green algae commonly causes irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. Common health effects associated with ingesting water containing algal toxins include stomach-ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Rarer health effects include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage.

Keep children and pets away. The DEM says that a combination of sunlight, high temperatures and excess nutrients can lead to a rapid increase in cyanobacteria, called a bloom. (Emphasis mine.) This is where homeowners come in — stop dumping bags of fertilizer on your lawns. You are wasting money and wreaking havoc on the environment.

Mashapaug Pond, (directions)


The community boathouse has a shady camp feel with towering pines and oaks. Picnic tables and a rack of canoes wait for us to clean up this mess.

This multi-lingual sign with its unambiguous illustration warns visitors: Mashapaug Pond is sick.


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