Weekly Update from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers began discharging large amounts of water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries the weekend of Feb. 17-18, 2024, and there are already sitings of algae clusters.
- Algae spotted in Martin County less than a week after Lake Okeechobee discharges begin, WPTV-5, West Palm Beach, 2/21/24
- Blue-green algae returns to Cape Coral, WINK News, Fort Myers, 2/4/23
Latest blue-green algae sampling
Feb. 16 – Feb. 22, 2024 – There were eight reported site visits in the past seven days with eight samples collected. Algal bloom conditions were observed by samplers at five of these sites.
The most recent usable satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee is from 2/21 and shows low to moderate bloom potential on 15% of the lake, predominantly along the northern, western and southern shorelines of the lake.
Satellite imagery for the Caloosahatchee Estuary from 2/22 shows highly scattered low to moderate bloom potential, predominantly in the upper estuary.
The most recent usable satellite imagery for the St. Lucie Estuary is from 2/21 and shows scattered low to moderate bloom potential, predominantly in the upper estuary but also at the confluence of the estuary and the Atlantic Ocean.
Satellite imagery for the St. Johns River from 2/22 is partially obscured by cloud cover, but shows scattered low to moderate bloom potential throughout Lake George and the mainstem of the river down to the city of Jacksonville.
Please keep in mind that bloom potential is subject to change due to rapidly changing environmental conditions or satellite inconsistencies (i.e., wind, rain, temperature or stage).
On 2/19, Highlands County staff collected two Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.
Lake Placid – Boat Ramp: Microcystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace level [0.20 parts per billion (ppb)] microcystins detected.
Lake Glenada – Boat Ramp: Microcystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace level (0.88 ppb) microcystins detected.
On 2/20 – 2/22, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff collected four HAB response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.
Lake Pearl – Park Dock: Microcystis aeruginosa and Pseudanabaena mucicola co-dominant; estimated 1.4 ppb microcystins detected.
Choctawhatchee Bay – Legion Park pipe: No algal taxonomy sample collected; no cyanotoxins detected.
Lake Minnehaha – East Dock: Microcystis aeruginosa; estimated (1.2 ppb) microcystins detected.
Lake Harris – East Central Shore: Results pending.
On 2/21, St. Johns River Water Management District staff collected two routine HAB monitoring samples at two locations. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.
Lake Washington – Center: No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.
Lake Jesup – Center: Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii; no cyanotoxins detected.
On 2/15, DEP staff collected a HAB response sample from Lake Harris – East Central Shore: Microcystis aeruginosa and Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected.
Errata from Last Week
There is one date correction for last week’s HAB Summary. South Florida Water Management District’s Lake Okeechobee routine HAB monitoring samples were collected on 2/13 – 2/14 rather than on 2/5.
On 2/13, DEP collected a HAB response sample from Lake Breckenridge – South Lobe. The sample results for Lake Breckenridge – South Lobe were misidentified as results for Chrise Lake. The Lake Breckenridge – South Lobe sample was co-dominated by Woronichinia naegeliana and Dolichospermum sp. and had a trace level (0.30 ppb) microcystins detected.
Results for completed analyses are available at FloridaDEP.gov/AlgalBloom.
Lake Okeechobee & St. Lucie Estuary
St. Johns River
Blue-Green Algae statewide dashboard — LIVE map prepared by the Florida Dept of Environmental Protection
More from Florida Rambler: The Florida Red Tide Report
Contributing factors to both red tide and blue-green algae.
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 14 years ago.