Department of Health shares tips on algal blooms

The Florida Department of Health provided this list of Frequently Asked Questions about Cyanobacteria/Blue Green Algae. What are cyanobacteria/blue-green algae? Blue-green algae are a group of organisms that can live in freshwater, salt-water or in mixed “brackish” water. Most of us know them as ”pond scum.” They also have been found to share some characteristics […]

CDC to study fishing guides

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tentatively announced plans to conduct a study on fishing guides to find out whether algal blooms on Lake Okeechobee are related to any health issues. The CDC plans to recruit about 50 fishing guides and charter boat captains to study any potential health effects of long-term exposure […]

Nutrient pollution comes from ‘everywhere’

At their May 8 workshop meeting, the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board was briefed on the complicated issue of nutrient loading into waterways. The nutrient load from north of the lake is a complicated issue. Even the term “nutrient pollution” can be confusing explained Tom Frick, director, Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration, […]

A ‘Blue Revolution’ is in progress, author says

  SEBRING — Throughout human history, the greatest revolutions have bubbled up from among aggrieved groups incited by some tragedy or exploitation, who eventually make “leaders” follow their lead. Florida author Cynthia Barnett explained why she believes we’re watching another worldwide right now, one she calls “The Blue Revolu- tion,” during a free lecture at […]

Red tide fed by runoff into river and car exhaust

Nitrates from fertilizer were a major contributor to last summer’s red tide on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and car exhaust may also play a role, according to research conducted by Florida Gulf Coast University. Red tide is a higher-than-normal concentration of a naturally occurring, microscopic algae called Karenia brevis. This algae produces brevetoxins that can kill […]

Cyanobacteria bloom lessens in Lake Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE — The cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Okeechobee continues to be present in about 345 square miles of the Big O, but the density has decreased, according to the computer imagery taken by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration on Oct. 25. The image shows cyanobacteria (also known as “blue-green algae”) in about 63 percent […]

Want to stop algae blooms? Stop feeding the algae

OKEECHOBEE — The cyanobacterial blooms that have plagued South Florida this summer have led to protests from the public, promises from politicians and blame (mostly targeted at farmers and Lake Okeechobee) from the coastal media. But amid all of the slogans, sound bites and allegations, maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking where […]

Lake Okeechobee coverage mired in misinformation

OKEECHOBEE — Misinformation, partial truths, vague but colorful descriptions and puzzling statements plague media coverage of the second largest freshwater lake within the continental United States. Political spin by candidates for local, state and national office add to the confusion about the water released from Lake Okeechobee, and the part those releases play in the […]

Sugar farmers push back on attacks from politicians and media

OKEECHOBEE — Farmers around Lake Okeechobee are attempting to push back against attacks from politicians and media outlets around south Florida. After toxic algae blooms began to take over waterways in south Florida, some politicians running for election began to single out one scapegoat, ‘Big Sugar.’ During a campaign event in Fort Myers in early […]

Warnings similar for very different hazards

OKEECHOBEE — Warnings given by Florida State agencies about potential hazards in Florida waterways give the same advice for two very different potential hazards. Some of the Florida Wildlife Commission rules for living with alligators can also apply to algae. For example: Don’t feed the alligators/algae. Keep pets away from alligators/algae. Do not swim in […]