NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


St. Lucie River algae-free for Fourth of July celebrations

Posted at 11:46 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-04 04:29:01-04

Follow last year's toxic algae on the Treasure Coast, residents are pleased with the improvements this summer.

During the Fourth of July holiday in 2016, toxic blue green algae coated parts of the St. Lucie River.

Because of that, boaters and swimmers avoided the water, and business owners who rely on water lovers for income suffered major losses.

This year, the water is free of bright green algae and open for swimming.

Now, business owners, still making up their losses, are hoping for an eventful holiday weekend on the water.

Darshan Pandya owns a Valero gas station around the corner from Sandsprit Park in Stuart.

Boaters are big business for him. They go to his store to buy bait, gasoline, drinks and snacks.

“Hopefully it will get busy,” Pandya. He has stocked up, anticipating more business.

“It’s better this year, because the water is good,” Pandya said.

But, his business is still recovering from a more than $20,000 loss in profits, he says.

Boaters like Billy Leidner are also looking forward to the holiday with clean water.

His family is among the many who avoided the river last year for their safety.

“It was gross. There was a lot of green algae and we avoided it,” Leidner said.

That makes him and his children more excited to be getting back on the water this Fourth of July.

“Thankfully there hasn’t been much of any discharges, so it’s been awesome,” Leidner said.

Current Lake Okeechobee water levels are nearly 2 feet lower than they were this time last year. The Army Corps of Engineers has not indicated any foreseeable need to release water into the St. Lucie Estuary.