As the weather continues to heat up, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is regularly monitoring lakes and waterways when algal blooms are reported.
For the week of April 23-29, there were 19 reported site visits with 19 samples collected . Algal bloom conditions were observed by the samplers at 11 of the sites.
The satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee from April 29 showed low to moderate bloom potential along the shoreline of Lake Okeechobee, with portions of the southern shoreline obscured by cloud cover.
No significant bloom potential was observed in visible portions of the Caloosahatchee river or estuary.
The St. Lucie river and estuary were obscured by cloud cover.
The satellite imagery for the St. Johns River from April 29 was partially obscured by cloud cover and showed low to moderate bloom potential on Lake George and portions of the St. Johns River downstream of Lake George.
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).
On April 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 DEP staff collected water samples at approximately nine locations in the area near Port Manatee in Tampa Bay in response to the Piney Point emergency release. Bloom conditions have been observed in the localized area of previous discharges and continue to be monitored. During this reporting period, results have ranged from non-detect to trace 0.37 parts per billion (ppb)] levels of cyanotoxins. For daily updates and sampling data results, please visit ProtectingFloridaTogether.org/PineyPointUpdate.
On 4/26, South Florida Water Management District staff collected samples at the C43 Canal – S77 and C43 Canal – S79 structures (on the Caloosahatchee River). The C43 Canal – S77 sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had trace levels (0.39 ppb) of microcystins detected. The C43 Canal – S79sample had no dominant algal taxon and had trace levels (0.35 ppb) of microcystins detected.
According to the World Health Organization, microcystin levels above 1 ppb are unsafe for drinking water, and levels above 8 ppb are unsafe for human recreational contact (such as swimming).
On April 26, Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff collected samples at Lake Okeechobee – S308C (Lakeside), Lake Okeechobee – Clewiston Boat Ramp and Lake Okeechobee – Pahokee Marina. All three samples were dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and. The sample from the S308 structure (Port Mayaca Lock) had trace (0.60 ppb) levels of microcystin. The sample from Clewiston boat ramp had 4.6 ppb. The sample from the Pahokee marina had 860 ppb microcystins detected. (Two weeks earlier, a sample from the Pahokee marina had no microcystins.) DEP is actively working with SFWMD on cleanup and sampling efforts at Pahokee Marina, and will continue to respond to the algal blooms in this area.
On April 26, Highlands County staff collected a sample from Huckleberry Lake – Canal Entrance. The sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 1.6 ppb of microcystins detected.
On April 27, April 28, and April 29,, St. Johns River Water Management District staff collected samples from St. Johns River – Mandarin Point; Doctors Lake – Center; St. Johns River – Shands Bridge; Blue Cypress Lake – Center; Lake George – Center; Crescent Lake – Mouth of Dunns Creek; Stick Marsh – North; and Lake Washington – Center. The St. Johns River – Mandarin Point, Doctors Lake – Center, St. Johns River – Shands Bridge and Lake George – Center samples had no dominant algal taxa and no cyanotoxins detected. The Blue Cypress Lake – Center sample was dominated by Microcystis sp. and had no cyanotoxins detected. The Crescent Lake – Mouth of Dunns Creek sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had no cyanotoxins detected. The Lake Washington - Center and Stick Marsh – Northsample results are still pending.
On April 28, DEP staff collected a sample from Lake Eustis – Northwest Corner. The sample was dominated by Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii and had no cyanotoxins detected.
On April 29, DEP staff collected samples fromLake Winnott – 147 Bakers Acres and Lake Otis – Boat Ramp. Sample results are still pending.