Lake Okeechobee algae bloom spreading toward both Florida coasts

Share
Algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee
Algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee. Courtesy of Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch (24 June 2018).

Because of recent heavy rains, huge algae blooms from polluted Lake Okeechobee are once again racing toward Florida’s west and east coast as water is released from the quickly-filling lake. Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is the former mayor of Sewell’s Point, near where the St. Lucie River empties into the Atlantic Ocean. WMNF News spoke with her Tuesday about the algae bloom she photographed from an airplane on Sunday in Lake Okeechobee and in the waterways leading to the Gulf and the Atlantic.

We talked about what happens to the algae when water is released from Lake O, how far the algae bloom has already reached and how this algae bloom compares to previous ones that spread to the coasts.

“We’re really in a toxic algae crisis again. On June 1st the Army Corps [of Engineers] started to release from Lake Okeechobee into our river from the lake. … It gets that really bright green that’s almost iridescent. It looks like fluorescent paint, almost; it looks fake.”

What do you know about discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and into the Caloosahatchee [Rivers] recently?

“[Monday] evening at about 10:45 p.m. the Army Corps started discharging again into the St. Lucie River from S-308 at Lake Okeechobee. And I know that the day prior to that they started dumping from S-80. Over the weekend there were two days that were zero releasing [no water relased from the lake] and then they started releasing again on Monday. First it was from C-44 and now it’s from S-308, which is the structure at the lake. So, they are releasing [water].”

Listen:

Thurlow-Lippisch also was a commissioner on Florida’s recent Constitution Revision Commission.

The Fort Meyers News-Press wrote Tuesday that the algae bloom has caused the closure of a beach on the Caloosahatchee River.

 

You may also like

TECO customers criticize proposed rate increase

Listen: The Florida Public Service Commission held a public hearing...

Rendering of new baseball stadium with crown and palm trees surrounding it.
St. Petersburg city leaders discuss proposed new Rays Stadium

St. Petersburg City Council met for a workshop session Wednesday...

Florida Farmworkers Need More Legal Protections

A tragic bus accident killed 8 legal migrant farmworkers and...

The Scoop: Thurs. June 13th, 2024 Tampa Bay and Florida headlines by WMNF

A book about banning books is banned. St . Pete...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram

Revenge of the Synth
Player position: