Want to stop algal blooms? Stop feeding the algae

The cyanobacterial blooms that have plagued South Florida this summer have led to protests from the public, promises from politicians and blame (mostly targeted at farmers and Lake Okeechobee) from the coastal media. But amid all of the slogans, sound bites and allegations, maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking where the algae […]

Lake Okeechobee News: We’re stronger together

Newspaper merger planned for publications around Lake Okeechobee In the pioneer days when new cities were founded all around Lake Okeechobee, newspapers were established to bring community members together. In order to organize a new city, town or county, they needed a way to communicate with the people. The newspapers in Okeechobee, Clewiston, Moore Haven […]

Emergency wells could protect estuaries

As high temperatures and heavy rainfall continue to make conditions ideal for algae blooms, those who live near the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries are calling out for relief from freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee. So-called “emergency estuary protection wells” could offer relief. According to Robert Verrastro, South Florida Water Management District principal hydrogeologist, the […]

Loss of aquatic vegetation means ‘the lake is hurting’

High water levels are hurting Lake Okeechobee’s ecological balance. Water Resources Director Terrie Bates explained the issue at the July 12 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board. She said it is due to the lasting effects of Hurricane Irma, which churned the waters of the Big O and dumped enough rain […]

Mast argues for lower Lake Okeechobee level

STUART — Congressman Brian Mast’s proposal to lower Lake Okeechobee to 8 feet by the end of the dry season to prevent wet season releases to the coastal estuaries was the topic of discussion at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District briefing on Aug. 17 in Stuart City Hall. Ernie Marks, South Florida […]

Nitrogen from the air helps fuel blue-green algae

Tests by the University of Florida show the cyanobacteria bloom in the lake has changed. At the start of the summer, the dominant type was a species of Microcystis, according to Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDEP) tests. In late July, the Microcystis bloom appeared to die off. A new bloom that has grown in […]

New NOAA image shows algae in 45 percent of lake

As the long, hot summer continues, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continues to track cyanobacteria concentrations in Lake Okeechobee. The computer-generated image is derived from data using satellite imagery capturing spectrums of light not visible to the human eye. Cloud cover and wind can affect the satellite data. The image from Aug. 9 “is […]

Blue-green algae in about 30 percent of lake

Satellite images show cyanobacteria in about 30 percent of Lake Okeechobee. Images acquired on Aug. 6 are partly obscure by clouds on the eastern side of the lake, according to Dr. Sachi Mishra of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Blooms are clearly visible in the lake […]

‘Water farming’ helps reduce flow to St. Lucie

They call it “water farming.” Caulkins Citrus Co., once home to orange groves, is the site of a public-private partnership to reduce harmful freshwater flows to the St. Lucie Estuary. The 3,200-acre site is adjacent to the C-44 Canal just east of Indiantown. Water from the canal is pumped into bermed reservoirs on the property, […]

Satellite images show algal bloom is changing

Satellite imagery continues to show changes in the cyanobacteria in Lake Okeechobee. Due to the lack of a broad-based regular sampling program, researchers can only speculate about what the images mean based on their knowledge of the lake and experience with algal blooms in similar bodies of water. The NOAA imagery from July 2 showed […]