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Green algae blankets Back Cove, killing marine life

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PORTLAND (WGME) -- If you've walked around back cove at low tide recently you might have noticed the once muddy bottom is now blanketed in green.

Scientists said it's a form of algae that's been quickly spreading.

"It's almost like green spaghetti," Ivy Frignoca a bay keeper with Friends of Casco Bay said. "It's as thick as a blanket."

The green algae now clings to the bottom of Back Cove and a number of other areas in Casco Bay including Mill Cove in South Portland

"If it were just little patches of it here and there we would not be concerned at all," Frignoca said. "It would be healthy."

Algae blooms are common and natural in Maine but scientists said this summer's hot weather and higher than normal pollution have caused them to explode.

"I think that's what the bay is telling us," Frignoca said. "There's too much nitrogen right now and when you add in drought conditions hot sunny days and warmer water temps were going to see more blooms like this."

Friends of Casco Bay said this type of green algae could also hurt the marine life that's living here in the tidal flats.

"All the baby clams underneath were coming to the surface and suffocating," Frignoca said. "They were clearly distressed and it will just choke out the marine life that tries to live in the tidal flats."

With the algae thriving and everything else dying the Friends of Casco Bay said not much can be done to prevent or clean it up.

"This is the bay telling us we need to all make some changes," Frignoca said. "I would ask everyone to think about it before fertilizing their lawn and make switches so we're all putting less nitrogen into the bay."

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