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Temperature likely contributing to Smith River algae growth

March 25, 2019

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — State officials say increased temperatures in a scenic Montana river have likely contributed to the growth of algae blooms considered a nuisance to recreation.

The Independent Record reported Monday that the algae species Cladophora has reached nuisance levels in the Smith River, where thousands of people enter a lottery each year for a chance to float down it.

The state Department of Environmental Quality sampled the river water last year, aiming to determine the factors causing the algae growth.

State water quality specialist Chace Bell says there has been a statistically significant increase in water and air temperatures over the past 22 years.

The temperatures combined with other environmental factors make conditions ripe for Cladophora growth.

Bell says that prolonged plumes of algae can push out insects and affect fish.

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Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

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