Lake Okeechobee

There’s a new study into the resilience of Lake Okeechobee’s toxic algae as it flows from the fresh water lake into the brackish estuaries.

Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

Toxic algae is an increasing problem in Florida, whether it’s red tide on the state’s west coast, or from releases from Lake Okeechobee. Jill Roberts, from sister station WQCS in Fort Pierce, tells us about a statewide event to focus attention on the toxic water. Hands Along the Water will remind politicians that toxic algae is an important issue to the state's voters. 

Andrew West / News-Press

When Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens, who is a well-regarded expert on water and has studied pollution all over the world, began hearing about a deepening algae bloom in his own backyard in Lake Okeechobee this summer, he struggled to find information that could tell him what was going on.

State scientists sample water in the lake, but too infrequently to track rapidly evolving algae blooms. Instead, Havens had to rely on satellite images that were taken on sunny days when clouds don’t get in the way.

Scott Calls For Action On Red Tide Amid Political Clamor

Aug 6, 2018

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities. 

WMFE

Toxic algae again is blooming in Florida waterways.

The algae began in Lake Okeechobee and is spreading after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated flows to the adjoining Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green explains some of the water management decisions behind this toxic alga in a conversation with WMMO's host Shawn Burke. 

Burke: Amy, how much algae are we talking about?

Green Algae In Lake Okeechobee Thrives In High Temperatures

Jul 16, 2018
CHARLES TRAINOR JR / Miami Herald

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott ordered a state of emergency for seven counties around Lake Okeechobee as a result of toxic algae blooms. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from the lake because the algae has spread to both Florida coasts, hurting home values, tourism and local businesses. 

The Florida Phoenix

The Everglades Foundation is kicking off a campaign to include the Everglades Reservoir in this year’s federal Water Resources Development Act bill. The reservoir is designed to move water away from Lake Okeechobee and reduce the spread of the discharge causing the toxic algae blooms on both coasts. The announcement comes days after Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency as a result of the toxic algae blooms. Dr. Steven Davis is the chief ecologist at the Everglades Foundation. He joined Sundial to discuss the dangers of toxic algae. 


Charles Trainor Jr. / Miami Herald

A plan to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee was approved by federal budget officials on Tuesday, as part of an effort to reduce blue-green algae blooms on Florida's coasts.

The roughly $1.6 billion dollar reservoir project will now pass from the White House Office of Management and Budget to the U.S. Senate, where it's expected to be funded as part of a water resources bill.

Courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District

From inside their massive headquarters in West Palm Beach, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) regulates the natural flow of water from Orlando to the Keys. Using canals and water-holding sites, officials are trying to prevent the types of algae blooms that led Governor Scott to declare a state of emergency in seven counties on Monday.

Martin County Health Department

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday declared a state of emergency for seven counties experiencing blue-green algae blooms, including Palm Beach County.

The blooms are in large part due to water discharges from Lake Okeechobee. They can cause fish die-offs and respiratory irritation in humans. And it's not the first time the foul-smelling blooms have prompted an emergency declaration: in the summer of 2016, at the peak of the July tourist season, the blooms closed beaches and fishing businesses.

Dike Repair Money Coming Amid Algae Woes

Jul 9, 2018

As calls grow for state action to deal with toxic algae blooms in Southeast and Southwest Florida, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced funding is in place to speed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

Worries Bloom Over Lake Okeechobee Algae

Jun 25, 2018

There are new fears about algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants discharges of polluted water out of Lake Okeechobee redirected elsewhere.

NASA JOHNSON / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday it will begin releasing water Friday from Lake Okeechobee because of concerns over rising water levels.

While it's not unusual to discharge water during periods of heavy rain, it is unusual to start this early in the summer. 

"Historic rain across the region since the middle of May has caused the lake to rise more than a foot," said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District commander, in a press release. "We have to be prepared for additional water that could result from a tropical system."

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