NewsRegion St Lucie County


Toxic algae found in St. Lucie Canal

C-25 has no connection to Lake O discharges
Posted: 7:56 PM, Jul 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-17 23:56:50Z

Tuesday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection took water samples at four locations in Martin County.  While much of the focus has recently been in the Stuart area, toxic algae are popping up in other places.

Along the C-25 canal, Steve Castille and his stepson are out for a day of fishing. Castille recently moved from Louisiana, another fishing hotspot.  He was disappointed to hear that a few miles east, near where the canal goes under 25th Street in Fort Pierce, a blue-green algae bloom tested last week contained trace amounts of toxins. Castille says it might play into his dinner options.

“Whether or not you want to keep the fish you catch," Castille said.

Dr. Edie Widder with the Ocean Research and Conservation Association says she's not surprised to find toxic microcystin in the C-25.  For years, she says there have been some cryptic algae blooms in canals like the C-25. Cryptic she says because you don’t see the green slime, but toxins are still being produced.

“One of the concerns is that water is being used to irrigate food crops and food crops can take up microcystin," said Dr. Widder.

It’s important to note that the Lake O discharges are not connected in any way to the C-25 canal.  Still, Widder says that makes the recent findings no less concerning.

“The bottom line is we want to get nutrients out of the system in any possible way that we can," said Widder.