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Another Toxic Bloom In Lake O? State Says No, But Environmental Groups Want To Know More

Satellite photograph of Lake Okeechobee from July 2016, showing a large cyanobacteria algae bloom. Image courtesy of NASA
Satellite image of Lake Okeechobee showing the cyanobacteria algae bloom. Image courtesy of NASA

State environmental agencies say an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee is not toxic.

But environmental groups want more information.

The Department of Environmental Protection and South Florida Water Management District collected six samples from Lake Okeechobee's northern perimeter.

Aerial surveys also have been conducted. But Paul Gray of Audubon of Florida says the public needs to know more about where to boat and fish safely.

"No one's mapped it, and this is a health and safety threat for Floridians. And I just can't believe our agencies aren't out there getting a better assessment of what's going on."

Toxic algae blooms aren't well-understood. Some emit toxins only sporadically. Toxic blooms gripped Florida last summer, prompting emergency declarations in four counties.

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.