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?
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…
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bh376GzsSKI