Water-Related News

Worrisome algae bloom erupts on Lake Okeechobee

Algae is blooming on Lake Okeechobee, stoking concerns of a more wide-scale bloom that choked nearby waterways with thick green goo in 2016.

So far, the waterways nearest to the lake have been spared as the lake's polluted water has not been discharged because of lower water levels caused by a spring drought, Palm Beach Post reports.

Still, state water officials have identified a "significant" algae bloom on the lake due to high temperatures and polluted inflows into the lake.

The water from the St. Lucie Canal picks up algae-feeding phosphorus, nitrogen and other pollutants from golf courses, farms and residential areas before draining into Lake Okeechobee.

Tests of the canal water this month showed as much as two times the normal amount of phosphorus in the canal's water, the South Florida Water Management District said.

Last year, the algae emergency occurred after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discharged tens of billions of gallons of lake water into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries after record winter rainfalls swelled the lake.

The resulting algae blooms caused beaches to close, killed marine life and hurt the local tourism economy.