Tropical Storm Elsa could worsen the blue-green algae situation in SWFL
New pictures taken over Lake Okeechobee show huge swaths of blue-green algae.
The photos are a grim reminder that BGA is still present in Lake O and Tropical Storm Elsa could make things worse.
“Our pilot flew the lake yesterday and there was about a 12 mile stretch of the lake where it was concentrated for sure,” John Cassani, from the Calusa Waterkeeper, said.
On Monday, it was a windy, gloomy day at the Franklin Lock, hinting at the storm just beyond the horizon.
“More runoff means more nutrient pollution, for the receiving waters, and that’s what fuels the blooms,” Cassani said.
Cassani is concerned over what experts are calling a flushing event which happens when it rains enough to cause nutrient runoff from farms and landscaping.
“We didn’t have what we have ‘the flush’ yet, it’s a significant amount of water that will flush all the watershed that hasn’t been flushed during the dry season,” Serge Thomas, from FGCU’s Water School, said.
Once that happens, an entire dry season’s worth of nutrients will make its way into the river, and eventually downstream. After that happens, the nutrients will build up, eventually fueling blooms later on this summer.
“More heat more nutrients working together, tend to make the algae grow a little bit more, so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Cassani said.
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