Blue-green algae are not to be taken lightly

cyanobacteria wiki creative commons In: Blue-green algae are not to be taken lightly | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Cyanobacteria. Photo Creative Commons, Wikipedia.


The State of Florida has made a terrible mess of protecting and sustaining its waters, and we are only just beginning to pay the price.  Nutrient-fed algae have damaged tourism, more important even than agriculture for our economy.

We are finding out more and more dangers associated with the algae.  With our current Tallahassee leadership we can expect only worsening conditions, as we are nowhere near the point of actually addressing the sources of the algae.

We do little money-wasting exercises like DeSantis’ Blue-green Algae Task Force, which was a sham designed to give the false impression that he was actually trying to fix the situation.  This is a shame since some of the members worked hard in good faith, to no avail.  His goal was to fool the public and it seems to have worked, as even the Richard Tribou, the  author of this article, obviously did not research the topic.

He also gives a number to call the DEP to report a potential algae bloom.  We wonder why?


See the article here in the Orlando Sentinel

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum

Blue-green algae warning issued for Lake, Seminole waterways

Health officials in Lake and Seminole counties issued Blue-green algae alert Monday.

The Florida Department of Health said it found harmful blue-green algal toxins in both Lake Howell in Seminole County as well as the Dead River residential canal south of U.S. Highway 441 which connects Lake Eustis and Lake Harris in Lake County. The findings came from samples taken on June 9.

Blue-green algae can harm both the freshwater and brackish ecosystems, but also in some cases be toxic to humans if ingested, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

If toxic, the cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and even liver failure in severe cases.

Officials advised people to not drink, swim or use watercraft in waters where an algae bloom is visible; wash skin and clothing with soap and water if they come into contact with the algae or discolored or smelly water; keep pets away from the area; don’t cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms; or eat shellfish from water with the blooms.

Fish caught from freshwater lakes is safe, the DOH stated, advising people to rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.

The FWC states blue-green algae outbreaks occur in both freshwater and brackish waters. including past occurrences on the the Harris Chain of Lakes including lakes Apopka, Eustis, Griffin and Harris as well as the St. Johns, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee river systems.

“Like red tides, cyanobacteria can grow and accumulate, or bloom, when environmental conditions such as light availability and temperature are favorable,” reads a statement on the FWC page. “Nutrient pollution from agricultural and urban runoff causes the majority of freshwater cyanobacteria blooms. Other conditions that contribute to blooms are stagnant water resulting from a lack of natural flushing and land clearing.”

The blooms can block sunlight from underwater grasses and other vegetation, reduce oxygen in the water and cause fish kills similar to red tide as well as add toxins to the ecosystem that run up through the food chain.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection can be contacted to report a potential algae bloom by calling 855-305-3903 or on its website.

In 2019, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formed the Blue-green Algae Task Force in an effort to alleviate the problem after several severe outbreaks in 2018. The five-person group’s recommendations aim to reduce nutrients in Lake Okeechobee and other downstream estuaries where some of the worth blue-green algae outbreaks occurred.

Richard Tribou is the Senior Content Editor for the Audience Engagement team of the Orlando Sentinel, which covers everything from hurricanes to coronavirus to the Florida Man. The former travel editor and space enthusiast still covers the travel and space industry, including cruises.

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