ST. JOE, Ark. — The National Park Service reports a significant algae growth on the Buffalo River due to the hot and dry conditions, and this year, a species of blue-green algae was identified in the river.

Samuel Jenkins said, “The first thing we noticed was all the algae. At least me, I just thought it was kind of gross to be honest, but it didn’t harm me or anything.”

Scientists say most algae is harmless, but certain types can make people and pets sick if they swim in or drink water close to the algae.

The National Park Service is working with other state and federal agencies to address the issue, and so far testing has not linked any pathogens to the algae, though more extensive testing will be done, and samples of the river have also been taken.

The park service is asking visitors to be aware of their surroundings and avoid swimming in areas with a lot of algae, and ensure that children do not swallow the water.

But some visitors say it’s not stopping them from coming back to the river, such as Jessica Landry. “There was a lot of algae, but of course where we are there’s a ton of algae so it wasn’t anything new for us. I love the Buffalo River.”

If you or a pet becomes ill after being exposed to algae in the Buffalo River, contact the Arkansas Department of Health.