Tag Archives: ACOE releasing toxic algae into St Lucie River Lindian River Lagoon

Will the ACOE “Dump” a Toxic Algae Bloom from Lake Okeechobee Into Our SLR/IRL?

 

Blue-green algae is often toxic.  4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Blue-green algae this bright is usually toxic. This is a photo from just outside of Lake Okeechobee taken yesterday. 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.

Yesterday, a blue-green algae bloom was documented at S-308 just east of Lake Okeechobee/C-44 Port Mayaca, by Kenny Hinkle and Mike Connor: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7CglO2z33E&spfreload=10)

You hear it all the time, and it most things considered, it makes sense: “Flood control…”

The Army Corp of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District “HAVE TO” dump from Lake Okeechobee because when its waters are “too high,” it endangers the people and the farms south of the lake.

But what about us? What the thousands of people who live, fish, and boat along our estuary? Are we protected?

Blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, produces two groups of toxins, neurotoxins and peptide hepatotoxins. Great. Is this what our government should be releasing into our waters? This is a fresh water bacteria and it comes from the lake not the brackish estuary. But after our estuary has been “dumped on” by all the area canals, with an overabundance of fresh water, or an overabundance of water from the lake, the microcytosis  can live here!

Disgusting…

Let’s think about this. 

The first responsibility for any government is the “health, safety and welfare” of its people. That is my responsibility as an elected official in the Town of Sewall’s Point. 

So when circumstances are as they are today, or at least yesterday–and there was documentation of what clearly appears to be a blue-green algae bloom, most likely toxic,  on the eastern side of Lake Okeechobee at S-308, am I supposed to remain quiet? I think not, and nor should you.

The ACOE is scheduled to start dumping  today. I admit, that the ACOE, SFWMD, governor, and legislature are in a difficult position having to  protect one group at the expense of another, but somebody better figure it out.

 

Map of where bloom was located yesterday. (Kenny Hinkle, 4-23-15.)
Map of where bloom was located yesterday. (Kenny Hinkle, 4-23-15.)
Photo 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15. Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15. Kenny Hinkle.

__________________________

The dumping of blue-green algae in Lake O  waters is what led to the toxic “Lost Summer” of  2013, and the fish kills and toxic waters of 2005 in the SLR/IRL.

Microcystis: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcystis_aeruginosa)

ACOE: (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil)

Teamwork’s Success, Reporting S-308’s Toxic Algae Bloom to the State and ACOE, St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

The collective teamwork of the SLR/IRL River Movement has had a tremendous effect on state agencies such as the ACOE and SFWMD. "KEEP THE GATES CLOSED!" (Photo of  River Warrior and River Kidz mom, Cristina Maldonado, donning her homemade protest shirt at the St Lucie Locks and Dam River Rally. Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2013.)
The collective teamwork of the SLR/IRL River Movement has had a tremendous effect on state agencies such as the ACOE and SFWMD. “KEEP THE GATES CLOSED!” (Photo of River Warrior and River Kidz mom, Cristina Maldonado, donning her homemade protest shirt at the St Lucie Locks and Dam River Rally. Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2013.)

Today I want to share what I consider a huge recent success of the River Movement and our ability to network and work together to protect our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

On August 25th, Jensen Beach activist Jackie Trancynger sent out an email blast featuring a photograph taken by Paul Shidel of an awful looking algae bloom he found while photographing birds at Port Mayaca. Port Mayaca is where structure S-308 is located that allows water from Lake Okeechobee to be released into the C-44 canal to the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon.

Here’s the photo. You may recall reading about it in one of my previous blogs or seeing it in an email exchange:

August 24, 2014 photograph of blue-green algae bloom east of S-308, Lake Okeechobee/C-44 Canal area/ (Photo courtesy of Paul Shindel.
August 24, 2014 photograph of blue-green algae bloom east of S-308, Lake Okeechobee/C-44 Canal area/ (Photo courtesy of Paul Shidel.)

So anyway after I saw the photo,  I called Jackie Trancynger and got Paul Shidel’s email in order to verify the location of the bloom-certainly appearing to be toxic algae. Paul not only verified the location but provided a map!

Map of algae bloom's location on east side of S-308, C-44 canal. (Paul Schindel.)
Map of algae bloom’s location on east side of S-308, C-44 canal. (Paul Schidel.)

On Tuesday, August 26, I participated as I have for almost two years now, in the ACOE Periodic Scientists Call in my capacity as an elected official from the Town of Sewall’s Point at the invitation of Ms Deb Drum, who oversees Martin County’s Ecosystem Restoration & Management Division.

During this call I sent Paul’s photo and map to the ACOE stating concern that if S-308 were opened this possibly toxic algae would head straight into our SRL/IRL.

Then an amazing thing happened..

The ACOE ask the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to test the algae.

Yesterday, Deb Drum from Martin County reported that the testing came back positive as “Microcystis, a toxic blue-green algae.” The county in turn notified the ACOE that the algae exists in that location to document their concern.  If the ACOE  were to open the locks at S-308, the algae could travel downstream with the water flow into the SLR/IRL. This knowledge could  actually make a difference in a decision of the ACOE to open up those structures. 

Wow. Thank you Paul!

I  have complained before on the ACOE call about  toxic algae being released from Lake Okeechobee as the SLR/IRL does not seem to “go toxic” from its local canals,  but only when Lake Okeechobee’s waters are unleaded to our shores. Toxic algae has been seen in the area between S-308 and S-80 many times but we need to start documenting this. Documentation is a powerful tool in changing the tide of destruction.

So thank you for your teamwork! Together we can help KEEP THEM CLOSED! The “Gates of Hell” that is…

____________________________________________________________________

REPORT:

Subject: Lake Okeechobee, Okeechobee/Glades/Hendry/Palm Beach/Martin Counties: Florida CyanoHAB Tracking Module has received a record update

On August 27, 2014, Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Southeast District staff sampled an algal bloom found in Lake Okeechobee. A single grab sample was collected of surface scum at the Port Myakka Lock (C-44.) Following are the laboratory results for this sample:

Result:
Class
Toxin potential *
The dominant taxon was:
Microcystis aeruginosa
Class Cyanophyceae
yes

Other taxa present:
Dolichospermum circinale **
Class Cyanophyceae
yes
Pseudanabaena sp.
Class Cyanophyceae
undetermined
Eudorina elegans
Class Chlorophyceae

Pediastrum simplex
Class Chlorophyceae

Glenodinium sp.
Class Dinophyceae

* Information based on literature searches and personal communications; information is continually being updated. “Undetermined” refers to specimens for which the lowest practical level of taxonomic identification is genus and some, but not all, species within that genus have the potential to produce toxins or toxin information not available for the identified species but is available for genus level.

** Dolichospermum circinale (synonym = Anabaena circinalis)