Sarasota Post: The Slow Death of Lake Okeechobee And the Rise of Toxic Blue

The Sarasota Post: Written by Rose Lipke. August 9, 2018.

Let me start by saying that nothing...I mean nothing can prepare you for the way this stuff smells. The sheer putridness of it makes every cell in you scream for you to get away from it. In areas where the wind and currents break the surface tension it is a bright neon green, varying in thickness. When it collects in stagnant areas it grows into thick mats and takes on an ashy light blue and green tint, with small pillars reaching above the surface spewing light tufts of powdery toxins that keep growing, multiplying and amassing on the surface. It grows so quickly at times you can actually watch this process happen. The stench gets into your sinuses and throat, you can taste it for hours later.

Toxic algal blooms are becoming a regular occurance in Florida, with recent outbreaks in the Santa Fe River near Gainesville, and by far the most notably in Lake Okeechobee, and with it the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers after contaminated lake waters are released into the two river systems to each coast. These algal blooms are not isolated to Florida either, but they all happen in conjunction with high levels of nutrients and pollutants in freshwater bodies. 

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