From CNN: All 21 of Mississippi's Beaches are Closed Because of Toxic Algae

Last week, we released this newsletter detailing the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, which has swelled to the size of New Jersey. Recently, local governments in Mississippi have had to close down all of their beaches to public use after extreme growth of toxic algae—thanks in part to fertilizer runoff from the Mississippi River.

CNN details the damage here, but here is an excerpt:

Along the state's Gulf Coast, all 21 of the state's beaches have been shut down for swimming due to a blue-green harmful algal bloom (HAB), according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

HABs occur when "colonies of algae -- simple plants that live in the sea and freshwater -- grow out of control and produce toxic or harmful effects on people" or wildlife, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.

The toxic algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, the state agency warned.

Though the state says people can still use the sand portion of the beaches, they should avoid water contact or consumption of anything from the waters "until further notice."

Marmot Mcmahon