The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality lifted a water contact warning Friday for a segment of the Jourdan River in Hancock County from the I-10 bridge to the mouth of the river into St. Louis Bay.
Recent water sampling results did not indicate the presence of a blue-green Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) at this location.
“While this is good news that we can lift the water contact warning in the Jourdan River, we encourage the public to be aware of their surroundings and notify our agency and/or local emergency management officials if they see a HAB anywhere on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Gary Rikard, MDEQ Executive Director.
The water contact warnings for the 21 beach stations remain in effect due to sampling results that indicate a HAB present in those nearshore waters. According to the National Park Service, there has been no observed evidence of the algae bloom impacting the barrier islands of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. All beaches in the park are currently open. Water contact warnings remain in effect for Pass Christian Harbor, Long Beach Harbor, and Bay St. Louis Harbor.
MDEQ recommends people, and their pets, avoid water contact such as swimming or wading where the blue-green HAB is present because exposure can be harmful. The algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. MDEQ advises that those exposed wash with soap and water. MDEQ and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources are working together on the ongoing investigation of identifying the presence of HABs.
The locations of the water contact warnings and the beach sampling stations can be found at http://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches/. Updates to the public are available by filling out a contact form at http://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/beaches/contact.html for inclusion in a public group email list, texting “MDEQbeach” to 95577, or following MDEQ on Twitter: @MDEQ.