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Toxic green algae taking over St. Johns River

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you're planning on taking advantage of the warm weather this weekend by doing any activity on the St. Johns River you might want to hold that thought.

Officials with the St. Johns Riverkeeper are warning the public that there is a large and growing amount of green algae in the river, and it is extremely toxic.

"What we're seeing is a green algae outbreak, all starting at Lake George heading all the way out to Jullington Creek," Lisa Rinaman, with the St. Johns Riverkeeper, said.

Aerial pictures of homes along the St. Johns River show that they are slowly becoming surrounded by the growing green slime. According to Rinaman, that slime forms from waste.

"What happens when it rains is that, unfortunately, it washes more nutrient pollution into the St, Johns from fertilizers, from failing septic tanks, from sewage. That's what causes the green algae, but it can also flush it out," Rinaman said. 

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Even though the slime like algae may look interesting, Rinaman wants to remind people that it is toxic, and until it does get flushed away, they're asking the public to stay away from it.

"Just stay away from the green slime. This particular kind of algae can be extremely toxic so you don't want to touch it, you don't want to get near it, you don't want to eat fish that come out of it. Definitely keep your pets away," Rinaman urges.

So if you see it, stay away from it. And if you have an outbreak in your area, you can report it to the St. Johns Riverkeeper at 904-256-7907 or email lisa@stjohnsriverkeeper.org.
 

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