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Blue-green algae updates

Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection

November 22 – December 1, 2022 – Satellite imagery from 12/1 shows no blue-green algae bloom potential on Lake Okeechobee and no significant bloom potential in visible portions of the Caloosahatchee Estuary, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported on Friday, Dec. 2.

The most recent usable satellite imagery from 11/30 shows no significant bloom potential in visible portions of the St. Lucie Estuary.

The most recent usable satellite imagery for the St. Johns River from 11/28 showed scattered low bloom potential on visible portions of Lake George and the mainstem of the St. Johns River downstream of Lake George.

There were 12 reported site visits in the past 10 days with 12 samples collected. Algal bloom conditions were observed by samplers at seven of the sites.

On 11/28-12/1, DEP staff performed 10 harmful algal bloom (HAB) response site visits. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.

  • • Lake Marian – Boat Ramp: No dominant algal taxon, trace level (3.2 parts per billion [ppb]) microcystins detected.
  • • Moody Lake – SEMicrocystis aeruginosa, trace level (0.44 ppb) microcystins detected.
  • • Lake Whistler – At DockMicrocystis aeruginosa, trace level (0.20 ppb) microcystins detected.
  • • Sawgrass Lake – From CWC DockMicrocystis aeruginosa, trace level (0.59 ppb) microcystins detected.
  • • Georges Lake – CenterMicrocystis aeruginosa, trace level (1.9 ppb) microcystins detected.
  • • Coral Gables Canal – East sideMicrocystis aeruginosa, trace level (0.12 ppb) microcystins detected.
  • • Lake Estelle – Dorchester and Mills: Results pending.
  • • Lake Howell – NW Shore: Results pending.
  • • Deep Lake – N Shore: Results pending.
  • • Lake Mann – McQueen Park: Results pending.

On 11/29-12/1, St. Johns River Water Management District staff performed two HAB response site visits.

  • • Lake Monroe – Center: No dominant algal taxon, no cyanotoxins detected.
  • • Lake Jesup – Center: Results pending.

On 11/21, DEP staff performed one site visit at Lake Pickett – SE Corner. There was no dominant algal toxin and no cyanotoxins were detected.

Results for completed analysis are available at FloridaDEP.gov/AlgalBloom.

For detailed breakdowns of blue-green algae sampling across the state, visit the state Department of Environmental Protection.

blue-green algae
Blue-green algae bloom. (Photo courtesy St. Johns River Water Management District.)

Blue-Green Algae statewide dashboard — LIVE map prepared by the Florida Dept of Environmental Protection

More from Florida Rambler: The Florida Red Tide Report


Blue-green algae

In water bodies with blue-green algae, if people or animals splash or if boats create wakes, the cyanotoxins in the algae can release into the air. The toxins mix with water droplets and spray—that’s how people and animals can inhale the toxin. These toxins can’t pass through your skin easily so swallowing large amounts of contaminated water is what causes illness. This algae is blue, bright green, brown or red, and can have a strong odor like rotting plants. Pets can become sick from blue-green algae so keep them out of those areas and away from contaminated marine animals and fish.

SYMPTOMS? Stay away from blue-green algae.  For some people, blue-green algae can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. People who are very sensitive to smells can have respiratory irritation. Sometimes, high exposures of toxin can affect the liver and nervous system.
If you come into contact with blue-green algae, get out of the area and wash off with soap and water. See your doctor if you think blue-green algae has made you sick.

CONTAMINATED WATER. Water from areas with blue-green algae can make animals and people sick—stay away from these areas.

SWIMMING. Don’t swim in or around blue-green algae.

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE AND FISH.  Fish tested from water with blue-green algae show that cyanotoxins don’t accumulate much in the edible parts — muscle or fillet — of fish, but can in other organs. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water. Throw out guts. Cook fish well.

blue-green algae

More related stories

To cut algae in St. Johns, Jacksonville weighs pilot project to filter city’s drainage, Florida Times Union


Notes from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but may change without notice. Confirm details when planning a trip, especially to areas hard hit by hurricanes.

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