Green-algae blooms spotted in multiple locations around Martin County waterways

Posted at 11:44 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 04:09:42-04

Green algae blooms continue to show up in Treasure Coast waterways, causing concern for residents, business owners and water lovers.

Monday, algae was spotted in multiple areas in Martin County, including Leighton Park, Shepard Park, Downtown Stuart near the Riverwalk, the St. Lucie Locks and Lighthouse Point in Palm City.

On the first day of summer, some residents worry about what is yet to come for the season. Lake Okeechobee releases continue to pour into the St. Lucie River, which scientists blame for the algae blooms.

The algae blooms have been sampled and tested since the middle of May, some of which have been found to be toxic.

On May 13, the South Florida Water Management District first found an algal bloom on Lake Okeechobee during their routine sampling. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the SFWMD have regularly responded to and sampled observed and reported algal blooms on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River since May, according to a FDEP spokesperson.

Samples were collected last week (week of June 13) by the DEP and the SWFMD on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River.

This week, the week of June 20, the SFWMD will be collecting regular samples on the St. Lucie River at the locks. Samples of algae will be collected for analysis, according to a FDEP spokesperson.

At Leighton Park Monday evening, Brent Lawson took his two grandchildren fishing. Lawson says they would never eat what they catch anymore, it’s only catch-and-release.

Lawson says fishing in Martin County is much different from when he was a child.

“We had it much better. Kids today? Not so much,” Lawson said.

Peggy and Scott Hornick live in Lighthouse Point in Palm City. They say it is not common to see algae blooms near their home. This week, that was different.

““It’s coming into our canals, farther in than it ever has,” Peggy Hornick said.

They took their boat through the algae to get to dinner in Downtown Stuart.

"It was very noticeable tonight when we came out on our boat to Downtown Stuart, and it covers the boats and it’s really disgusting,” Hornick said.

Peggy says she hasn’t been in the water at all this year, and doesn’t see that changing. She says she used to paddle board and go to the Stuart Sandbar.

“You know you’re kind of afraid to even get splashed by the water,” Hornick said.

“It’s just sad that it’s affecting so many people but it just seems like there’s really no great solution,” said Hornick.

Martin County Health Officials urge people near the water to stay away from green algae blooms.

If you see an algae bloom, you can report it to the FDEP at 407-897-4177.

All sampling results to date can be found here.