N.J. announces $13M fund for harmful algal bloom prevention

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2017, file photo, algae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2017, file photo, algae floats in the water at the Maumee Bay State Park marina in Lake Erie in Oregon, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

New Jersey will have more than $13 million to combat harmful algal blooms that plagued major recreational waterbodies last summer.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state and federal funding Monday that will help local communities address the problem through a program of prevention, mitigation, research, and response.

The fund will also allow communities to make infrastructure upgrades to reduce a primary cause of algal blooms, the discharge of runoff containing nutrients.

“The presence of harmful algal blooms in New Jersey’s waterbodies severely impacts our public health and economy,” Murphy said in a statement. “The rise of harmful algal blooms is a global challenge and our initiative to reduce future blooms will allow us to protect the health of our residents, as well as the economies of our lake communities.

Last summer, the state officials reported 70 suspected and 39 confirmed harmful algal blooms, an increase over the previous two years, including the popular Lake Hopatcong. At the Jersey Shore, a bacteria, known as “cyanobacteria” or blue-green algae, was found in the 770-acre Manasquan Reservoir.

The bacteria could cause gastroenteritis, skin irritation, and allergic responses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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