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Florida blue-green algae update

News Reports

Latest blue-green algae sampling

Update prepared by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

Scroll below for definitions of terms

May 3 – May 16, 2024 – Following the severe weather that impacted North Florida last week, the DEP Laboratory lost power for a prolonged duration and was unable to process samples collected after May 8, 2024. Power has been restored at the Laboratory, and staff are assessing the equipment to ensure it is functional and able to be calibrated. DEP is coordinating with partners to continue laboratory services once normal operations at the DEP Laboratory can be resumed.  

There were 66 reported site visits in the past 13 days with 66 samples collected. Algal bloom conditions were observed by samplers at 36 of the sites.

The satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee from 5/11 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows low to moderate bloom potential on approximately 20% of the lake, primarily in the northern portion of the lake.

The satellite imagery for the Caloosahatchee Estuary from 5/10 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows no visible bloom potential.

The satellite imagery for the St. Lucie Estuary from 5/10 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows no visible bloom potential.

The satellite imagery for the St. Johns River from 5/16 is partially obscured by cloud cover and shows moderate to high bloom potential from Lake George downstream to Green Cove Springs. 

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

On 5/6 – 5/7, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff collected 17 harmful algal bloom (HAB) response samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.

Caloosahatchee River – Sebastian CtMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Gibson – WestMicrocystis aeruginosa and Botryococcus braunii co-dominant; trace levels of microcystins and cylindrospermopsin were detected (0.82 ppb and 0.11 ppb, respectively).

Lake VanMicrocystis aeruginosa and Dolichospermum circinale co-dominant; trace levels of microcystins and cylindrospermopsin were detected (0.55 ppb and 0.39 ppb, respectively).

Lake Conine – Boat RampMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace levels of microcystins and anatoxin-a were detected (0.71 ppb and 0.25 ppb, respectively).

East Crooked Lake – NW ShoreMicrocystis sp. and Botryococcus braunii co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Hancock – South CentralMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.27 ppb) anatoxin-a detected.

Lake Formosa – pedestrian bridgeMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Scott Lake – WestMicrocystis aeruginosa and Microcystis wesenbergii co-dominant; trace level (0.29 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Thonotosassa – CenterMicrocystis aeruginosa; 1.0 ppb microcystins detected.

C44 canal – S308C (canal side)Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

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

St. Lucie Canal – 96th Street Bridge: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

St. Lucie Canal – Army Corps Campground: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

St. Lucie River – at Four Rivers: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

Deerpoint Lake – near centerMougeotia sp.; no cyanotoxins detected.

St. Lucie River – at Palm City Bridge: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

St. Lucie River – Harborage: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.
 

On 5/6 – 5/8, South Florida Water Management District staff collected six HAB response samples and 28 Lake Okeechobee routine HAB monitoring samples (KISSR0.0, LZ2, NES191, L001, NES135, NCENTER, EASTSHORE, L004, L008, L005, POLESOUT3, POLESOUT2, POLESOUT1, POLESOUT, KBARSE, CLV10A, LZ40, L006, PALMOUT3, PALMOUT2, PALMOUT1, PALMOUT, LZ30, POLE3S, RITTAE2, LZ25A, L007 and PELBAY3.). Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.

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

C44 Canal – C44S80 (upstream): no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

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

C43 Canal – S79 (upstream)Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.26 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – KISSR0.0Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – LZ2Microcystis aeruginosa and Dolichospermum circinale co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – NES191Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L001Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – NES135Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – NCENTERMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – EASTSHOREMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.26 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L004Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.60 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L008Microcystis aeruginosa and Dolichospermum circinale co-dominant; 4.8 ppb microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L005: Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.30 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – POLESOUT3Microcystis aeruginosa; 1.3 ppb microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – POLESOUT2Microcystis aeruginosa; 6.3 ppb microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – POLESOUT1Microcystis aeruginosa; microcystins estimated to be 1.1 ppb.

Lake Okeechobee – POLESOUTDolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – KBARSEMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – CLV10ADolichospermum circinale; trace level (0.34 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – LZ40Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – Pahokee Marina: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L006Microcystis aeruginosa; 2.3 ppb microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – PALMOUT3Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.47 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – PALMOUT2Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.35 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – PALMOUT1Microcystis aeruginosa; 2.0 ppb microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – PALMOUTMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.55 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – LZ30Microcystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.51 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – POLE3SMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – RITTAE2Microcystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – LZ25AMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – L007: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Okeechobee – PELBAY3: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.
 

On 5/7 – 5/16, St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) staff collected five HAB response samples and 10 routine HAB monitoring samples. Dominant algal taxa and cyanotoxin results follow each waterbody name.

St. Johns River – Mandarin Point: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Eustis – SoutheastMicrocystis aeruginosa and Raphidiopsis raciborskii, formerly known as Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii, co-dominant; no cyanotoxins detected.

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

St. Johns River – Shands Bridge: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

Lake Yale – CenterMicrocystis aeruginosa; no cyanotoxins detected.

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

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

St. Johns River – at Little Lake GeorgeDolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected.

St. Johns River – at Andersons PointDolichospermum circinale; no cyanotoxins detected.

Crescent Lake – mouth of Dunns CreekMicrocystis aeruginosa; trace level (0.86 ppb) microcystins detected.

Lake Dorr – Northeast of centerBlue Cypress Lake – CenterStick Marsh – NorthLake Monroe – Center and Lake Jesup – Center: results pending.
 

On 5/6, Highlands County staff collected one HAB response sample at Lake Lotela – Boat RampBotryococcus braunii was the dominant algal taxon and no cyanotoxins were detected.

Two Weeks Ago:

On 5/4, SFWMD staff collected one HAB response sample on the L8 Canal – Junction with M Canal: no dominant algal taxon; no cyanotoxins detected.

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


Scientific Definitions


Maps of blue-green algae test sites

The blue dots in the maps below represent positive samples within the past 30 days. The green dots represent tests over the past 90 days. For an interactive version of this map, which allows you to zoom in and read test results for specific test sites for the past 90 days, go to floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom

These maps of test sites were updated on May 3, 2024.

blue-green algae
Click the button below this map for the interactive version, which allows you to zoom in on test results.

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

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
Florida blue-green algae update 6


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