The color was a beautiful bright green, but instinctively you get the feeling that something is not right or a sort of imbalance produced all this algae.
I forgot about the photos I took until I read an article in the Monterey County Herald titled “Elkhorn Slough teeters on algal mess”, by Marissa Fessenden of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, about UC Santa Cruz researchers mapping the extent of algae growth threatening Elkhorn Slough.
The study indicates that the growth of these thick mats are a result of excessive nutrient levels (e.g., from fertilizer runoff from agricultural fields) and limits on how much tidal water enters parts of the slough.
The combination of high nutrient levels and stagnant water in certain parts of the slough produces the right conditions for these thick mats to grow, resulting in low-oxygen conditions that can harm fish and other wildlife.
For more information, click on the picture of graduate student Brent Hughes or here to link to the University of California Santa Cruz article by Tim Stephens.