Water-Related News

Army Corps warns of potentially harmful Lake Okeechobee algae bloom

Blue-green algae doesn’t get as much attention when it’s not oozing into the northern estuaries, but it’s still out there, and potentially dangerous.

The Army Corps is warning of potentially harmful blue-green algae on Lake Okeechobee as NOAA satellites find about 42 percent of the lake ripe with a bloom.

A Tuesday [July 14th] image taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-3b satellite of Lake O found about 300 square miles infected with the single-celled cyanobacteria but only a sliver in the very center of the 730-square-mile lake suffering from the highest levels of concentration.

The Corps’ alert, issued Wednesday, says it’s possible boaters, fishermen or others near the lake may encounter blue-green algae, which can make people and animals sick if it becomes toxic. Wednesday’s alert says the algae can be blue, bright green, brown or red and may have a strong odor like rotting plants.

“People who are very sensitive to smells may have respiratory irritation,” the alert notes. “If you come into contact with blue-green algae, get out of the area and wash off with soap and water. See your doctor if you think blue-green algae has made you sick.”