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Emergency declared over algae in Martin, St. Lucie, Lee and Palm Beach counties

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Posted at 8:03 AM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 18:59:54-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A state of emergency has been declared in Martin, Lee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties following the unusually high presence of algae in local waterways.

RELATED: More Toxic Water coverage | Map: Algae blooms in Florida

Gov. Rick Scott signed the executive order Wednesday. It was expanded Thursday to include Lee and Palm Beach counties. It allows state and local agencies to take swift action to mitigate the spread of algal blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by redirecting the flow of water in and out of Lake Okeechobee.

Scott is also directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to address the issues caused by blooms.

In a prepared statement, Scott also called on the federal government to approve permits for Florida's dispersed water management programs.