The Virginia Department of Health has issued a Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) advisory for a 8-mile section of the North Fork after detecting cyanobacteria toxins within algae mat material found at three sites—one at Lower River Road in Tom’s Brook, one at Bethel Road and the other at South Holliday Street in Strasburg.
People and pets should avoid contact and accidental ingestion of cyanobacteria mats anywhere in the river.
Toxins found in these mats of algae can cause skin irritation and gastrointestinal problems for humans. If ingested, toxins from cyanobacteria can be lethal to pets and other animals.
While the advisory covers the section of river between the three affected sites, Friends has been receiving reports of mat-like algae in the North Fork outside of the sampled locations. If you see an algal mat like the one above do not enter the river, and keep your pets away. Not all mats are toxic, but when in doubt, stay out!
Help Friends get a clearer picture of the scope of this problem and elevate your findings to our partners by getting involved with our Algae Watch initiative. When you find a suspected algal bloom in the North Fork, take a photo and send it to us at [email protected]. Please include the location of your photo and any other observations you have. (e.g., wildlife, fish, odor, litter, river flow, etc.)