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Florida blue-green algae update

Latest blue-green algae sampling

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May 31 – June 6, 2024 – There were 51 reported site visits in the past seven days with 51 samples collected. Algal bloom conditions were observed by samplers at 20 of the sites. 

The satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee from 6/6 shows low to high bloom potential on approximately 75% of the lake, with the highest bloom potential in the southeast quadrant of the lake near Pahokee Marina.

The satellite imagery for the Caloosahatchee Estuary from 6/6 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows no bloom potential in visible portions of the river or estuary. 

The satellite imagery for the St. Lucie Estuary from 6/6 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows no bloom potential in visible parts of the river or estuary.
  
The satellite imagery for the St. Johns River from 6/6 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows low to moderate bloom potential from Lake George downstream to Doctors Lake.  

Bloom potential is subject to change due to rapidly changing environmental conditions or satellite inconsistencies (i.e., wind, rain, temperature or stage.)

Source: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)


Blue-green algae test results (Florida DEP)

warning sign blue-green algae
Blue-green algae warning sign.

On 6/3 – 6/6, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff collected 13 Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.

Lake Dorr – SW Shore: Algal mat dominated by Oedogonium sp.; phytoplankton had no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lullwater Lake – CenterScytonema crispum and Oedogonium sp. co-dominant in periphyton sample; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lullwater Lake – NE Lobe at dock: No dominant algal taxon in phytoplankton sample; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Rowena – W ShoreMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace level [0.16 parts per billion (ppb)] of microcystins detected. 

Lake Conine – at Lucerne Park Rd Boat RampMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace level (0.14 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

Peace River – Ft MeadeMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Toho – Marina dockMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Okeechobee – S308C (lakeside): No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Fairview – S LobeMicrocystis aeruginosa and Dolichospermum circinale co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Hidden River- Homosassa: Results pending. 

Lake Santa Fe – SW Lobe: Results pending. 

Lake Van: Results pending. 

C-17 Canal – Congress Avenue: Results pending. 

On 6/1 – 6/5, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) staff collected four HAB response samples, four routine monitoring samples at structures (S77S78S79S80) and 28 Lake Okeechobee routine HAB monitoring samples (KISSR0.0LZ2NES191L001NES135NCENTEREASTSHOREL004L008L005POLESOUT3POLESOUT2POLESOUT1POLESOUTKBARSECLV10ALZ40L006PALMOUT3PALMOUT2PALMOUT1PALMOUTLZ30POLE3SRITTAE2LZ25AL007 and PELBAY3). Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name. 

L8 Canal – CULV10AMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Okeechobee – S352 StructureMicrocystis aeruginosa and Dolichospermum circinale co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Okeechobee – S351 StructureMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Pahokee MarinaMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.39 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

C43 Canal – S77 (upstream)Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

C43 Canal – S78 (upstream)Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

C43 Canal – S79 (upstream)Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

C44 canal – S80 (upstream): No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

KISSR0.0: No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

LZ2: No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

NES191Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

L001Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

NES135Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

NCENTER: No dominant algal taxon; trace level (0.42 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

EASTSHOREMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.30 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

L004Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

L008Microcystis aeruginosa; 2.5 ppb of microcystins detected. 

L005Dolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected. 

POLESOUT3Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

POLESOUT2Microcystis aeruginosa; 5.9 ppb of microcystins detected. 

POLESOUT1: No dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

POLESOUTMicrocystis aeruginosa; 73 ppb of microcystins detected. 

KBARSEMicrocystis aeruginosa; 1.2 ppb of microcystins detected. 

CLV10AMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

LZ40: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

L006Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.69 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

PALMOUT3Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

PALMOUT2Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

PALMOUT1Dolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected. 

PALMOUTDolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected. 

LZ30Microcystis aeruginosa; 4.1 ppb of microcystins detected. 

POLE3SMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.68 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

RITTAE2Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

LZ25AMicrocystis aeruginosa; 2.1 ppb of microcystins detected. 

L007Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.27 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

PELBAY3Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 
 

On 6/3 – 6/5, St. Johns River Water Management District staff collected two routine HAB monitoring samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name. 

Lake Washington – Center: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Harris Bayou – Center: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Last Week 

On 5/30, DEP staff collected two HAB response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name. 
 

C-17 Canal – Congress AvenueMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 

Lake Yale – Near CenterMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected. 
 

On 5/30, SFWMD staff collected two HAB response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name. 

Lake Okeechobee – S352Microcystis aeruginosa; 150 ppb of microcystins detected. 

Lake Okeechobee – S351Microcystis aeruginosa and Planktolyngbya limnetica co-dominant; 1.1 ppb of microcystins detected. 

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


Scientific Definitions

Taxonomic identification of algae (morphological and molecular): species concepts, methodologies, and their implications for ecological bioassessment – PubMed


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


Contributing factors to both red tide and blue-green algae.

blue-green algae site 1web final algae red tide inforgraphic Florida blue-green algae update
Contributing factors to both red tide and blue-green algae. (Florida Audubon)

Blue-green Algae Facts

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

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