What’s turning the ocean brown in Southern Washington?

Washington

Officials say the phenomenon is the mark of a healthy coastline!

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Brown goo is washing up along the coast of southern Washington but experts say it’s no cause for alarm.

Officials at Oregon’s Seaside Aquarium said Tuesday the oddly-colored waves hit the Long Beach area, according to the Oregon Coast Beach Connection.

A type of phytoplankton is responsible for the phenomenon and is actually a sign of a healthy sea, the aquarium said. The brownish waves are actually a fairly common sight in Clatsop County at beaches in Seaside and Gearhart.

Visitors are often alarmed by the sight, thinking the water is polluted.

The brown color is caused mainly by a kind of phytoplankton called diatoms. The tiny creatures feed on nutrients that pour out of the Columbia River and other smaller waterways.

With a large number of diatoms comes a large number of baitfish, which in turn attract humpback whales.

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