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Algae & Aquatic Plants

The Algal and Aquatic Plant Assessment Program provides support for the Ambient Monitoring SystemAmbient Lakes Monitoring SystemPlanning Section, and Regional Office staff in the analysis of algal and aquatic plant assemblages. The major focus is on phytoplankton, which are suspended microscopic plants found in the water column capable of photosynthesis. However, other types of algae, such as filamentous and periphyton, are also analyzed.

Learn more about the different types of algae and aquatic plants.

Analyses are performed to:

• Identify algae and aquatic plants
• document where problematic algal growths occur
• identify problematic taxa and their distribution
• help investigate possible causes of fish kills
• help investigate taste and odor problems in drinking water supplies
• provide habitat characterization for bioassessment evaluations.

Two types of evaluations are performed by the program: episodic and routine. Samples for episodic evaluations are collected in response to specific events such as fish kills, algal blooms, and nuisance aquatic plant and algal growth. Routine evaluations are targeted studies of specific waterbodies of interest and are generally performed in cooperation with other DWR programs. Routine evaluations are conducted to assess changes in algal assemblages over time and are often focused on estuarine systems where there are known issues of nutrient enrichment and have had frequent algal blooms or fish kills. 

Learn more about algal blooms.

If you wish to report a fish kill, algal bloom or potentially problematic growth, contact your local regional office or the Estuarine Monitoring Team

Reporting Forms

Algal Blooms
Filamentous & Aquatic Plants
Report a Fish Kill

Standard Operating Procedures

Algal Database Taxonomic Reference Table
Standard Operating Procedures for the Collection and Analysis of Algae

Related Links

NCSU Aquatic plant information
N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
NCDEQ Aquatic Weed Program

 Staff Contacts

Leigh Stevenson Algal Ecologist (919)743-8451
Elizabeth Fensin Algal Ecologist  (919)743-8421
Mark Vander Borgh Algal Ecologist (919) 743-8423

Water Sciences Section 1621 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1621 919.743.8400