The “Michigan J. Frog” Blue-Green Algae of the IRL

Harborage Marina here and below, an area the algae is “always present” looks clear on 8-19-18. JTL

When I was I kid, I loved to watch Looney Tunes. For some reason, my favorite cartoon was the story of “Michigan J. Frog,” the singing frog that would stop singing when its “owner” would take it out of the box to perform.

Although our St Lucie cyanobacteria issues are no performing frog, and are anything but funny, sometimes I do feel like I am in Looney Tunes. And most certainly, the singing frog analogy stands.

Recently, when some big-names came to visit our area to “see” the algae, I must admit, when it wasn’t, I wanted it to be there. This happened with famed conservation photographer Max Stone, and the next day with gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis’ ToxicTour with Congressman Brian Mast.

In both cases, just a day apart, we would be staring at an area famous for caked, stinking algae, photographed thousands of times, and the area would look “clean,” completely devoid of the thick green-blue mats. In a desperate attempt for credibility, I’d be showing Max Stone or Congressman DeSantis pictures on my phone displaying how the algae looked “just last week”….”just yesterday!” “See those grey lines on the seawall, they were blue!”

They believed me of course, they’d seen the national news, but it would have been so much more convincing if I had been able to show them the fierce algae face to face! AGGG!

But that’s not my decision. The algae comes and goes. And most important, thick or thin, it is always there. The particulate algae is just as bad as the mats, just not as emotionally charged.

And of course, the moment these big names left, just the next day in fact, the algae started coming back ~like these photos shared this morning by Mary Radabaugh from famed Central Marine in Rio.

Maddening! Isn’t it?

8-23-18 Mary Radabaugh shares photos here and below of cyanobacteria blue green algae” back in Marina. It was not visible like this when I visited just days before.

I guess the lesson is, and what we must know, and be able to explain, is that the algae, like the character Michigan J. Frog, during times when Lake Okeechobee is being discharged, the algae whether performing or not, is always there in the box/in the river.  Only the cyanobacteria/blue green algae will decide if and when it will sing…

Not so visible particulate cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in the SLR, August 2018. JTL

And it probably won’t when you want it to, and it probably will when you wish it would not…it is a living creature with a mind of its own in tune with temperature and nutrients (food) not thinking of people at all.

In closing, take Bathtub Beach yesterday for a final example, now closed due to cyanobacteria. The same thing! I went to visit after hearing the beach had been closed, but by the time I got there the tide and winds had pushed most of the cyanobacteria out to sea. But it was still there, just quiet. Looking closely, the particulate clumps were gathered at the shoreline waiting to perform. Be certain, the frog, one day, of its own accord, will sing.

MichiganJ.  Frog:

4 thoughts on “The “Michigan J. Frog” Blue-Green Algae of the IRL

  1. I stopped by at our sea turtle preservation society building in Melbourne beach. I asked how are the sea turtles doing this year. They said there was very little nesting. They said this year they nested down south. They NEVER nest down where you are. I was wondering could you get a sample of the white and blue stuff on pilings without falling in the water. I was curious if you poured viniger on it will it foam up? Welcome back. I allways love your blogs. Maby sea turtles will bring with them tiger sharks so tiger sharks can thin out black tips and bullsharks.

    1. Dear Brent, thank you for welcoming me home and sharing this unusual news. I can get a sample it just may take some time – the cyanobacteria is ramping up again so there certainly must be blue on a pole in the river. The vinegar. We’d have to see. Our beaches were closed yesterday due to blue green algae. I was wondering how it would affect the turtles. The sharks are our friends too. Tiger’s are a beautiful shark indeed. Thank you and I will let you know.

  2. Wildfires abound. Be glad you”re not in Seattle. Particulate level was up near Beijing levels and compared to smoking 8 1/2 cigarettes according to CBS Evening News.

    1. That is unbelievable. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. The environment is falling apart. And I do believe we have brought much of this if not all of this on ourselves. Bad development decisions. Good luck.

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