“The epicenter of slime remains the waterways branching from the St. Lucie River near Stuart, a rich estuary contaminated by a steady flow of foul, nutrient-laden water from Lake Okeechobee. Marinas, waterfront homes and even Atlantic beaches near the St. Lucie Inlet have been hit by waves of rank goo. A handful of samples from the area taken by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection also have contained concentrations of toxic algae that pose public health risks.
Now, scientists and the state are keeping an eye on a few other potentially vulnerable areas. At the top of the list: the Caloosahatchee River, which serves as the western relief valve for excess water from Lake Okeechobee. State samples already have shown isolated blooms but any dry spells combined with summer heat potentially could mean more green muck for the southwest coast in coming months…
Dee Ann Miller, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said that prediction and prevention were both difficult tasks.
‘The nature of most freshwater algal bloom events makes it difficult to predict where and when a bloom will occur or how long it will last,’ she said. ‘However, lessening the negative effects of algal blooms is possible through restoration work to improve water quality by reducing nutrients. By reducing nitrogen and phosphorous levels, we can help decrease the intensity and duration of algal bloom events.'”