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Brown, discolored water spotted off Pinellas County beaches

Pinellas County officials say they received dozens of reports regarding discolored water off the beaches.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Pinellas County officials say they received numerous reports of brown-colored water off area beaches.

Environmental experts say the bloom is Trichodesmium which is also called "sea sawdust."

Maya Burke with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program says if you take a swim in the discolored water, it could make you itchy.

“We don’t recommend that you swim if you see this brown material floating around in the water like the blooms we are seeing right now,” Burke said.

Burke says the sea sawdust itself isn’t harmful to fish and wildlife, but it's something to keep an eye on. 

“A lot of times if we see a Trichodesmium bloom along our barrier island beaches, it can be a precursor to a red tide bloom,” Burke explained.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say the blooms can look brown when the bloom is healthy, green when the bloom is starting to die, and pink or red when pigments leak out of the cells.

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