Big Reed Bacteria Warning

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has warn?ed that cyanobacteria, which is informally known as blue-green algae, has been found in Big Reed Pond off East Lake Drive in Montauk and could be hazardous to people and animals, especially dogs that take a dip in the pond or even walk too close to its edge. Big Reed Pond, as well as Lake Agawam in Southampton and Marratooka Lake in Mattituck, has been declared off-limits for people and dogs by the D.E.C.

According to Matt Stedman of Montauk’s Third House Nature Center, a blue-green bloom became visible several years ago at Big Reed after heavy spring rains, which apparently caused the contaminant to explode and choke the oxygen out of the freshwater body of water, which is tucked away in the woods. Since then, members  and several interns at the center have been monitoring the pond and taking samples for further study. A presentation on their findings will be made at the Montauk Library tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

Residents, and dogs, often walk at Big Reed Pond, although it is not a common swimming hole. Animals that come in contact with the bacteria could suffer convulsions, seizures, or paralysis, according to the D.E.C. In 2012, cyanobacteria was suspected of having caused the death of a Jack Russell terrier, who had been in Georgica Pond in East Hampton.