Cyanobacteria bloom continues

The cyanobacteria bloom in Lake Okeechobee was in about 36 percent of the lake on Sept. 13, as documented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) satellite imagery, slightly decreased from the 38 percent observed by NOAA on Sept. 9.

Cyanobacteria, also called “blue-green algae” although it is not technically algae, has been visible all summer. According to the University of Florida researchers, about a dozen different kinds of microscopic cyanobacteria are found in the lake year-round. The combination of hot weather and available phosphorus in the water causes the cyanobacteria to reproduce rapidly into a “bloom” which is visible to the human eye.

In the NOAA image, the highest concentrations of cyanobacteria are in the area shown in red on the graphic. The NOAA computer imagery can document light in a spectrum not visible to the human eye. It cannot, however, determine what types of cyanobacteria are present. It cannot determine if the there are any toxins present.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection samples water in the areas where the blooms are seen. The latest sample, collected Sept. 10 near Port Mayaca, did not detect any toxins.

Local anglers, who are out on the lake every day, have not seen any surface algae, and report the fishing has been great all summer.

Reach Katrina Elsken at kelsken@newszap.com

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