“Algae Hunters” Track Significant Bloom Living in the Middle of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

My husband and I have decided we are algae hunters…

Hello Readers. Hope you are having a good summer!

Even though I am supposed to be on a “blogcation,” my husband, Ed, and I decided to fly over Lake Okeechobee this morning as yesterday Dr Susan Gray of the South Florida Water Management District reported on the Army Corp of Engineer Periodic Scientist Call that recent Landsat Satellite images had revealed significant algae in the middle of the lake- – – an area known as “LZ40.”

Sure enough, once Ed  and I got up in the air, just a few miles west of Port Mayaca, the strings of bright green algae were visible from about 1000 feet —-looking down— up to as far as eye could see…

Very strange to be surrounded by water and bright-colored lines of algae; it resembled  miles of suspended fluorescent paint. I have heard the scientists talking about how the algae comes up in the morning for sunlight and then goes back down into the water column later in the day. It is  intelligent, like an animal, and knows how to hide. You have to track it….

The living bloom was quite extensive, going on for many miles. My photos do not do the color or amount justice, but do document. This is important.

Thank God the ACOE is not dumping into the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon this summer. Poor lake O, on the other hand, has been getting “backwards flowing” C-44 water and back-pumped water from the EAA, STAs, and WCAs. No wonder its a mess!

Thank you to the SFWMD for the heads up! We do appreciate your work. We have inherited and created “quite an animal.”

See everyone soon.


*STA is storm water treatment areas

* WCA is water conservation areas

South Florida

SFWMD website:  (https://www.sfwmd.gov)


*Reader, Professor Geoff Norris recommends we ask NOAA to create a bulletin for Lake O like this one here for Lake Erie since basically we are “in the same boat:” I think this is a great idea. I will have to contact NOAA.


Tracking of journey upon return from Ed’s watch 7-19-17 around 9am
Center area of Lake O LZ40 is where SFWMD reported 7-18-17 that algae was showing on Landsat satellite images


Ed approaching Lake Okeechobee
FPL pond, Herbert Hoover Dike, and Lake O
S-308 and dike
Algae starts to appear just a few miles out
Algae get thicker and brighter as we continue flying west



21 thoughts on ““Algae Hunters” Track Significant Bloom Living in the Middle of Lake Okeechobee, SLR/IRL

  1. Hi Jacqui,

    Those blue-green algae streaks on the surface of Lake Okeechobee are called Languimir convection cells. Think of them as horizontal corkscrews. They are shallow wind driven clockwise horizontal vortices that concentrate the organisms on the surface when 2 vortices converge. What this means is that the lake is full of the algae but the Languimer vortices concentrate sufficient concentrations so that they are clearly visible.



  2. Oh my what a difference 7 years can make…..I remember well how terrified you were of flying and suggesting that you count houses and try to identify neighborhoods to take your mind off it. Really happy to see that smile on your face while flying and finding a passion that helped you overcome it in your reporting. Congratulations!

  3. Now is when the Governor should tell every County to stop fertilizing before this gets worse. We know it’s early in the rainy season and it will get worse. To continue allowing fertilizers to be applied is going to feed the lake algae bloom and we all know what happens if the lake gets higher. Good work Jacqui and Ed!

  4. Hi Jacqui, Can I use one of your photos of the algae in my blog, if I give you credit, of course. Thank you, Kim

  5. This could be cleaned up and controlled very easily, naturally, quickly, and safely by using the natural mineral Magnesium Oxide and dusting the surface of the lake. Magnesium is part of the photosynthesis process that Mother Nature has created for biodegradable organics. If you would like to know more feel free to contact me.

  6. It is not the algie that kills. Its the bacteria that feeds on the algie that sucks all the oxygen out of the water. I hope someone remembers to keep adding calcium sand so desolved oxygen can complete the cycle.

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