FDEP continues to monitor algal blooms

Most samples from Lake O contained toxin levels below level considered safe for recreational contact

Posted 5/24/21

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), there were 50 reported site visits May 14-20.

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FDEP continues to monitor algal blooms

Most samples from Lake O contained toxin levels below level considered safe for recreational contact

Posted

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) regularly samples the water of Lake Okeechobee and other Florida lakes, rivers and waterways.

According to FDEP, there were 50 reported site visits May 14-20, with 50 samples collected. Algal bloom conditions were observed by the samplers at 35 of the sites. 

The most current usable satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee available for the FDEP update was  from May 18.

The lake was partially obscured by cloud cover and showed bloom "potential" on approximately 20% of Lake Okeechobee, with the heaviest accumulation along the northern and western shorelines. (Areas in purple and blue show low   potential for an algal bloom. Areas in Green show moderate potential for a bloom. Areas in red or orange would indicate high potential for surface scum. Areas in black show no bloom potential indicated.)

No significant bloom potential was observed in visible portions of the Caloosahatchee river or estuary, but algal bloom conditions were reported on the Caloosahatchee River at the S79 structure (the Franklin Lock), Barron Park-LaBelle, the Alva Boat Ramp and the Davis Boat Ramp.

No bloom potential was observed in visible portions of the St. Lucie river or estuary, but algal bloom conditions were observed on the C44 canal downstream of the S308 structure (Port Mayaca Lock) and above the S80 structure (St. Lucie Lock).

On May 17, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) staff collected samples at Lake Okeechobee - FEBIN; Lake Okeechobee - FEBOUT; C43 - S77 (upstream); Lake Okeechobee - S308C (lakeside); and at C43 Canal – S79 (upstream).

Locations of water sampling on Lake Okeechobee by FDEP and SFWMD
Locations of water sampling on Lake Okeechobee by FDEP and SFWMD

The World Health Organization considers microcystin toxin levels above 1 part per billion (ppb) to be unsafe for drinking water and levels above 8 ppb to be unsafe for human recreational contact (swimming).

The Lake Okeechobee – FEBIN sample had no dominant algal taxon and no cyanotoxins detected.

The Lake Okeechobee - FEBOUT sample had no dominant algal taxon and a trace level [0.90 parts per billion (ppb)] microcystins detected.

The C43 - S77 (upstream) and Lake Okeechobee - S308C (lakeside) samples were both dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 11 ppb and 2.2 ppb microcystins detected, respectively.

The C43 Canal – S79 (upstream) sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had a trace level (0.89 ppb) of microcystins detected. 

On May 18, Lee County staff collected samples at Caloosahatchee River – Alva Boat Ramp and Caloosahatchee River – Davis Boat Ramp. Both samples were dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 4.6 ppb and 35 ppb microcystins detected, respectively. 

On May 18 and May 19, SFWMD staff collected samples from Lake Okeechobee at the following stations (cyanotoxin results follow each station name): 

KISSRO.0 (1.0 ppb); 
LZ2 (1.3 ppb); 
NES191 (trace, 0.90 ppb); 
L001 (3.3 ppb); 
NES135 (2.9 ppb); 
NCENTER (1.2 ppb); 
EASTSHORE (1.4 ppb);
L004 (3.2 ppb); 
L008 (5.5 ppb); 
L005 (3.0 ppb); 
POLESOUT (19 ppb); 
POLESOUT1 (5.0 ppb); 
POLESOUT2 (7.6 ppb); 
POLESOUT3 (3.0 ppb); 
KBARSE (4.5 ppb); 
CLV10A (non-detect); 
LZ40 (4.3 ppb); 
PALMOUT (1.6 ppb);
 PALMOUT1 (7.3 ppb); 
PALMOUT2 (1.7 ppb); 
PALMOUT3 (9.3 ppb); 
LZ30 (16 ppb); 
POLE3S (11 ppb); 
RITTAE2 (9.1 ppb); 
LZ25A (trace, 0.90 ppb); 
L007 (1.5 ppb); 
L006 (1.4 ppb); 
PELBAY3 
(2.8 ppb); and 
Pahokee Marina (6.6 ppb). 

Microcystis aeruginosa was the dominant taxon in all the lake samples with microcystin levels greater than 1 ppb. 

On May 19, DEP staff collected samples at Caloosahatchee River – Barron Park Labelle; Lake Winnott – 147 Bakers Acres Drive; and Lake Willisara – Center. The Caloosahatchee River – Barron Park Labelle sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 2.8 ppb of microcystins detected. The Lake Winnott – 147 Bakers Acres Drive sample did not have a dominant algal taxon and had a trace level (0.23 ppb) of microcystins detected. The Lake Willisara – Center sample was dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had a trace level (0.33 pb) of microcystins detected. 

On May 20, DEP staff collected a sample at Caloosa Canal – Sebastian Court. Those results are still pending. 

On May 21, SFWMD staff collected samples at C51 Canal – S155A (upstream); C51 Canal – S155 (upstream); C51 Canal – Bridge Southern with Military; C51 Canal – Bridge Forrest Hill with I-95; and C44 Canal – S80 (upstream). Those results are still pending. 

The South Florida Water Management District also collected samples last week.

On May 13, SFWMD staff collected samples at C51 Canal – S155A (upstream); C51 Canal – S155 (upstream); M Canal – at 60th Street North; and C44 Canal – S80 (upstream).

The C51 Canal – S155A (upstream), C51 Canal – S155 (upstream) and M Canal – at 60th Street North samples were all dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 86 ppb, 2.2 ppb and a trace level (0.42 ppb) of microcystins detected, respectively.

The C44 Canal – S80 (upstream) sample had no dominant algal taxon and no cyanotoxins detected. 

On May 13, Lee County staff collected samples at Caloosahatchee River – Alva Boat Ramp and Caloosahatchee River – Davis Boat Ramp. Both samples were dominated by Microcystis aeruginosa and had 3.4 ppb and 1.4 ppb microcystins detected, respectively. 

 

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