FDEP: Algae potential ‘significantly reduced’ in lake

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported no algae blooms the week of Sept. 13-19. Water samples collected from Lake Okeechobee contained no dominant species of algae and no toxins.

No algal bloom conditions were observed by the samplers.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/NOAA
The National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration satellite imagery shows “bloom potential” in a small portion of Lake Okeechobee. Areas that are likely to have cyanobacteria in the water column are indicated in blue and green. The Sept. 17 image is the most recent image available that was not obscured by clouds. According to FDEP, there were no surface blooms documented for the week. On the NOAA image, surface blooms would be indicated in red or orange.

National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee for that week shows that bloom potential on the lake remains significantly reduced, with less than 10% coverage. Bloom potential refers to the potential for cyanobacteria in the water column, based on the chlorophyll levels. No surface scum was reported.

Algae and cyanobacteria are part of Lake Okeechobee’s natural ecosystem and are present in the lake year round, even when the microscopic organisms are not present in numbers high enough to be visible to the human eye. Cyanobacteria and algae are found naturally in lakes, streams and waterways worldwide. “Blooms” occur when cyanobacteria and/or algae reproduce enough that “surface scum” is visible. Bloom conditions usually include the presence of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen, hot weather and lack of water movement.

Task force to meet
The Blue Green Algae Task Force will meet Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. at Florida Gulf Coast University, 4940 Bayshore Drive in Naples. Items on the agenda include discussion of recommendations for Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), agricultural best management practices (BMPs), septic tanks, sanitary sewer overflows, innovative technologies and storm water. The meeting will be livestreamed via theFloridachannel.org.

Publisher/Editor Katrina Elsken can be reached at kelsken@newszap.com

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