An area conservation group has been awarded a $162,000 grant to determine the cause of algae blooms in the Chowan River and Albemarle Sound.

The Albemarle Resources Conservation and Development Council will receive the grant through the state’s Environmental Enhancement Grant program, state Attorney General Josh Stein announced Friday.

The grant will also help the ARCDC identify nutrient hotspots, find solutions to target the nutrients that cause the blooms, and create educational materials to help reduce the nutrients.

“Healthy water means healthy lives,” Stein said. “This grant will help ensure that families living in northeastern North Carolina have access to the clean water they deserve.”

Brian Lannon, chairman of the ARCDC, said the council was “thrilled” to be awarded the grant to help determine what’s causing harmful algal blooms, or HABs.

“These HABs have occurred in Chowan River-Albemarle Sound waters each summer since 2015,” he said. “The HABs are a major water quality and public health problem, negatively impacting local fishing, recreation, tourism, and potentially local tax revenues.”

Lannon said the state grant will be especially helpful with data collection and analysis expenses.