Toxic algae found in the Caloosahatchee River

Low levels of the toxin microcystin were detected in water collected in Lake Okeechobee where a large algal bloom has been reported, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation. Higher levels of microcystin were detected on the Caloosahatchee River in Glades County and in Lee County.

The highest level of toxins detected this week was in a sample collected on the Caloosahatchee River upstream of the Franklin Lock on June 26, with microcystin levels of 463.34 micrograms per liter.

To date, most of the samples from Lake Okeechobee have had no toxins detected or very low levels.

The World Health Organization (WHO) considers microcystin levels below 10 micrograms per liter to be safe for recreational contact.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection advises the public to stay out of water where algae is present, because you cannot tell whether or not an algal bloom contains toxins just by looking at it.

Most of the water flowing into the Caloosahatchee River is from local basin runoff. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has set the flow target at the Franklin Lock for 3,000 cubic feet per second (cubic feet per second). Higher flows may occur if there is a lot of local basin runoff. On Sunday, the flow from the lake at the Moore Haven Lock was only 370 cfs. Total flow at the Franklin Lock was 3,950 cfs.

• On June 21, a sample from the St. Lucie Lock in Martin County had Microcystis aeruginosa (a cyanobacterium) as the dominant taxon. No microcystin was detected.

• A sample taken June 25 on Lake Okeechobee at Moore Haven found Microcystis aeruginosa was dominant. Microcystin levels were 3.3 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.

• On June 25, dense mats of algae were observed on the surface of the Caloosahatchee River at Ortona; Microcystis aeruginosa was dominant in the sample. Microcystin levels were 26.3 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.

• On June 25, a sample taken at the Port Mayaca lock in Martin County had Microcystis aeruginosa dominant. Total microcystin level was 2.2 micrograms per liter, No other toxins were detected.

• On June 25, FDEP sampled an algae bloom at Port Mayaca in Martin County. The dominant taxon was Microcystis aeruginosa (a cyanobacterium). Microcystin levels were measured at 2.2 micrograms per liter

• On June 25, an algal bloom on the Caloosahatchee near S. Olga Road in Lee County had Microcystis aeruginosa dominant. Microcystin level was 25.41 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.

• On June 25, microcystin levels of 308.07 micrograms per liter were detected in an algal bloom on the Caloosahatchee River at the Alva bridge. Microcystis aeruginosa was the dominant taxon.

• On June 26, microcystin levels of 463.34 micrograms per liter were detected in an extensive algal bloom on the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County. Microcystis aeurginosa was dominant. Anatoxin level was 0.34 micrograms per liter.

• On June 26, a sample collected at the Swim Beach downstream of the S-79 water control structure on the Caloosahatchee River had microcystin levels of 6.5 micrograms per liter; Microcystis aeruginoa was the dominant taxon.

• On June 26, microcystin levels of 4 micrograms per liter were detected in an algal sample at the Tiki Hut at State Road 31 in Lee County.

• On June 26, an extensive surface bloom was observed upstream of the Franklin Lock. The dominant taxon was Microcystis aeurginosa. Microsystin toxins were measured at 464.34 micrograms per liter.

• On June 26, microcystin levels of 6.06 micrograms per liter were detected near the Orange River Tree Farm on the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County. Dominant taxon was Microcystis aeruginosa.

• On June 26, an algal bloom on the C-44 Canal in Martin County below the S-80 water control structure had mixed algae with no dominant species. Microcystin levels were 0.59 micrograms per liter. No other toxins were detected.

• FDEP also found visible algae on the surface of the water and in the water column in the C-44 Canal below the S-80 water control structure on June 26. Test results are not yet available.

• On July 2, more algae blooms were reported and samples taken in Martin, Indian River and Lee counties. Samples were also taken from an algal bloom on Lake Okeechobee. Test results to determine the type of algae and toxin levels (if any) take about four days.

Katrina can be reached at keleken@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment