TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Department of Environmental Protection conducts weekly samples of algae blooms in designated regular testing sites as well as at sites where algal blooms have been reported.
On July 27, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff collected a sample from Lake Okeechobee at the Pahokee Marina. The Pahokee Marina sample was co-dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and Microcystis sp. and had 1.6 parts per billion (ppb) total microcystins detected.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers level below 8 parts per billion to be safe for human recreational contact (swimming).
On July 27, South Florida Water Management District staff collected samples from Lake Okeechobee, lakeside at S-308C (Port Mayaca) and upstream at the C-43 Canal – S-77 (Moore Haven). The sample from the S-308C structure had no dominant algal taxon and no detectable cyanotoxins. The C-43 Canal – S-77 sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had no detectable cyanotoxins.
The hot weather encourages the blue-green algae growth. The most recent satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed algal bloom “potential” in about 70 percent of Lake Okeechobee.
“Please keep in mind that bloom potential is subject to change due to rapidly changing environmental conditions or satellite inconsistencies (i.e., wind, rain, temperature or stage),” warns the FDEP website.