Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Toxic Algae That Kills Dogs Found in NYC Parks

Popular

A dog named Sheba runs out of a duck pond in Prospect Park Sept. 2, 2007 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Daniel Barry / Getty Images

The toxic algae blooms that have killed dogs in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia have been detected in three New York City parks. Parents and pet owners are being warned to keep their kids and dogs away from the infected water, which can be fatal when dogs lap it up, swallow it while swimming, or lick it off their own fur, as the New York Times reported.


Two of the city's most popular parks, Central Park and Prospect Park in Brooklyn have water coated in an algae bloom laced in the harmful and sometimes deadly cyanobacteria, as the New York Post reported.


The blooms are not technically algae, but cyanobacteria — aquatic and photosynthetic bacteria

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation, which routinely tests the waters in New York City's parks, found dangerously high levels of toxins in the Harlem Meer at the north end of Central Park, the Turtle Pond next to the Great Lawn in Central Park, the pond in Prospect Park and the pond in Morning Side Park, as the New York Times reported.

"When enjoying fresh water features in city parks, it is important to try to avoid contact with any algae and keep pets on leashes and do not allow them to enter or drink from lakes and ponds unless in areas specifically designated for such activities," a spokeswoman with NYC Parks said in a statement sent to Fox News.

"Many factors influence algae blooms, including high nutrients, stagnant water, high temperatures, and low oxygen," she continued.

Urban areas are particularly susceptible since a variety of nutrients found on nearby roads, sidewalks and sewage pipes, pour into the lakes and ponds. Plus, the waters are shallow, which allows nutrients to mix easily, according to the New York Times.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website publishes a map of locations where a harmful algal bloom (HAB) has been detected. However, it warns that the map may be incomplete as HABs often develop and spread quickly, particularly in August and September. "HABs may be present in all or parts of a waterbody. Avoid recreating in discolored water, or water that has visible scums," the website warns.

Cyanobacteria releases toxins that can cause skin rashes, gastrointestinal distress and neurological problems. The toxins can also trigger liver damage and respiratory paralysis in animals, as the New York Times reported.

The New York Post tracked down dog walkers near the algae-covered Harlem Meer.

"That water is horrible –there is a ton of junk inside there plus the algae," said Eric Quick, 30, as he walked his two dogs.

"There are a bunch of fish and turtles that die on a regular basis, so you don't know what's in there. You see a lot of floating turtles. It's pretty awful," said Sunday Humphrey, 53, who doesn't allow her pitbull-rottweiler mix near the water.

The Parks Department has put up yellow signs near the Harlem Meer and in Prospect Park warning park goers about the Harmful Algal Bloom, saying not to fish in the water, not to drink the water, not to let animals or children near the water, and to rinse any skin exposed to the cyanobacteria.

"I just had my dog on a walk right near the water," said Marcin Nasuro, 24, who was with his poodle in Prospect Park, as the New York Times reported. "I wouldn't come near the lake if I knew it was toxic. A dog's like a kid. It's like a part of your family."

This year toxic algae blooms have decimated businesses near popular summer spots. Every beach in Mississippi was closed earlier this summer and New Jersey's largest and most popular lake has been closed since June because of toxic algae, as Ecowatch reported.

Scientists attribute the spike in HABs to the climate crisis, which has increased the intensity of rainstorms.

"There is a relationship between a changing climate and increased intensity of storms," said Marit Larson, the chief of natural resources in New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation, to the New York Times.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coronavirus: Can we still live sustainably?

With more than half the global population under some form of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable habits can easily fall by the wayside. But we can still fight off the virus and keep our green habits.

Climate

The global coronavirus pandemic has thrown our daily routine into disarray. Billions are housebound, social contact is off-limits and an invisible virus makes up look at the outside world with suspicion. No surprise, then, that sustainability and the climate movement aren't exactly a priority for many these days.

We don't have to abandon our green habits during the crisis, but some might have to be adapted for the foreseeable future as we continue to learn about COVID-19 and how this new disease spreads.

Read More Show Less
Locals board up their shops in Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila on April 6, 2020 ahead of Tropical Cyclone Harold. PHILIPPE CARILLO / AFP via Getty Images

The most powerful extreme weather event of 2020 lashed the Pacific nation of Vanuatu Monday as it tries to protect itself from the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Two rare Malayan tiger cubs born at the Bronx Zoo in January 2016, Nadia and Azul made their public debut in September 2016. Nadia has now tested positive for the new coronavirus, and Azul has shown symptoms.

A tiger at the Bronx Zoo is believed to be the first animal in the U.S. and the first tiger in the world to test positive for the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Derrick Jackson

By Derrick Z. Jackson

As much as hurricanes Katrina and Maria upended African American and Latinx families, the landfall of the coronavirus brings a gale of another order. This Category 5 of infectious disease packs the power to level communities already battered from environmental, economic, and health injustice. If response and relief efforts fail to adequately factor in existing disparities, the current pandemic threatens a knockout punch to the American Dream.

Read More Show Less
President Donald Trump speaks during a roundtable meeting with energy sector CEOs in the Cabinet Room of the White House April 3 in Washington, DC. Doug Mills-Pool / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

A coalition of climate organizations strongly criticized President Donald Trump's in-person Friday meeting with the chief executives of some of the biggest fossil fuel companies in the world, saying the industry that fueled climate disaster must not be allowed to profiteer from government giveaways by getting bailout funds or preferred treatment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less