NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


What was the main cause of algae in 2016?

Posted at 5:01 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 04:38:17-04

Could there be a battle brewing over what caused the 2016 algae crisis?

Most people say water released from Lake Okeechobee is to blame. Now there's word of another explanation.

RELATED: More Toxic Water coverage

An Okeechobee News article says data from the South Florida Water Management District says lake water is cleaner than St. Lucie Basin runoff.

The article says lake water is lower in phosphorous than other sources of water.

"Local watershed is a contributing source," said environmental engineer Gary Goforth.

However, he says his research along with other scientists shows the billions of gallons of water flowing through the St. Lucie locks caused the massive algae blooms last year.

"Lake Okeechobee discharges that physically carry the freshwater algae down the St. Lucie Canal to the St. Lucie Estuary was the primary cause," said Goforth. 

At Ohana Surf Shop, owner Jordan Schwartz says his business sales are up compared to last year and that should be the proof everyone needs.

"Gone back to what it should be so yeah we're very pleased this summer," said Schwartz.

There have been no Lake Okeechobee discharges this summer.