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Toxic blue-green algae in Lake Okeechobee draws concern

Business slow at Muck Tavern
Posted at 11:32 PM, Jul 29, 2023

PAHOKEE, Fla. — It's the weekend and the Muck Tavern on Lake Okeechobee is typically a busy place. But lately business has been a bit slow and there's a reason for it. 

"It's not typical it's been typical these last couple of months because of the algae that you guys know that's present in the water here in the lake," Manager Whitney Cunningham said.  

Whitney Cunningham, manager of the Muck Tavern, said the area is a ghost town because of toxic blue-green algae on Lake Okeechobee. July 29, 2023.
Whitney Cunningham, manager of the Muck Tavern, said the area is a ghost town because of toxic blue-green algae on Lake Okeechobee.

She said the marina at times is like a ghost town as many people have gone elsewhere to fish, boat and eat. 

"It's kind of a deterrent because of the smell. It is very aggravating. It's not appealing," she said. "It'll typically run off customers or people that are coming to view the lake."  

The Florida Department of Health issued a health alert for the presence of blue-green algae toxins for multiple locations on Lake Okeechobee. 

Water samples taken on Wednesday showed the presence of the algae. 

Concerns continue to grow during this summer heat. 

Blue-green algae blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Plus, blue-green algae can produce toxins. 

Signs are up at the Pahokee city marina and boat ramp warning folks about the situation.

Cunningham said something has to be done. 

"Not sure how they'll get this under control but, definitely, as you can see, it's empty here," she said.