The threat of the algal bloom continues as the waters around St. Lucie and Martin Counties have recently been infested with this parasite.
Governor Rick Scott has already taken active measures to prevent the toxic blue-green algae from spreading further through the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Officials intend to redirect the flow of water in and out of Lake Okeechobee in order to deal with the algal bloom.
Toxic blue-green algae thrive in warmer waters, especially during summer. This parasite consumes a high level of oxygen, so its presence might cause ‘death zones,’ an area in the water where the level of oxygen is critically low, leading to the death of many fish and other animals.
Experts underline that the level of phosphorus in the water usually leads to a dangerous spread of toxic blue-green algae. Officials strongly recommend people to stay away from the infested waters, especially children as they are most vulnerable.
These algae can cause skin rashes and other symptoms. Pets are most likely to die if they swim in these waters, more precisely dogs. When dogs swim, they swallow a large quantity of water, so they are most likely to ingest the toxic algae and then die.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are expected to come up with an efficient strategy to tackle this issue and to make the waters of the lake safe and clean once again.
The lake waters need to be tested for toxins first so that scientists can establish how critical the situation is. By declaring a state of emergency in Martin County, officials have now more time to develop a plan to prevent the spread of the algal bloom.
Some officials confessed that they need the opinion of the experts as they are most qualified to tackle these kinds of situations. For the countermeasures to be effective, officials need a large force of people including volunteers and more employees.
A more generous investment is required as well to develop anti-toxic algae projects. In other parts of the world, the spread of the blue-green algae is usually stopped by a sudden weather event or by a temperature drop off.
In this case, officials need to deal on their own with the algal bloom which transformed the lake waters into a possible threat for every living creature.