Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria)
Cyanobacteria is one of the oldest types of lifeforms on Earth and is found primarily in freshwater systems. There are thousands of species of cyanobacteria and many are known to produce a variety of toxins.
Cyanobacteria is a photosynthetic microorganism that processes sunlight, nitrogen and phosphorous to live. They can regualate their position in the water column for optimal light and thrive in warm, nutrient-rich fresh or brackish water with low turbulence.
Microcystis and Anabaena are two of the most common cyanobacteria found in estuarine systems today. These bacteria are known to produce cyanotoxins dangerous to humans and animals. Microcystin and Anatoxin are classes of hepatoxin and neurotoxin, affecting the liver and brain, respectively.
Human and animal exposure to Cyantoxins comes in three primary forms of contact:
- Dermal contact
- Inhalation or aspiration from aerosolized surface water
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Harmful Algal Blooms
Conservation groups sent a letter today urging Florida officials to set water-quality standards for the harmful toxins in algal blooms that threaten the health of the state’s residents and wildlife. The request comes after the FDEP announced it would not set legal limits on the cyanotoxins that make the blooms so harmful.
Implementation of Governor DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force Recommendations Act – SB 1522 / HB 1225
The current bill language for SB 1522 has lost or is missing several key recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. It’s imperative that the legislature act now, as yet another major blue-green algae bloom has formed on Lake Okeechobee and other areas of the state.
Federal Judge orders the U.S. Corps of Engineers to consider toxic algae when releasing water from Lake Okeechobee. Fort Myers, FL: Calusa Waterkeeper is proud to be involved with a recent win in federal court regarding the management of Lake Okeechobee and its impacts to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
Florida’s waters are at a tipping point as phosphorus and nitrogen pollution and climate change combine to create a perfect storm for the increasingly frequent outbreaks of toxic blue-green algae and red tides. St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman and Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani are leading the fight against this growing scourge.
Florida Department of Health Fails to Consistently Notify Residents of Health Risks from Toxic Blue-Green Algae
After massive and recurring blue-green algae blooms in Florida waters that resulted in multiple “states of emergency” issued by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2016 and 2018, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is still unable to consistently warn the public of the toxic blooms.
John Cassani said to see algae in the middle of the dry season is unusual. ”When it’s calm and the wind starts blowing, those tend to stick together,” Cassani said. “Then they produce polysaccharide that enables them to kind of glue together and forms those mats.” Cassani is talking about big green chunks seen in canals in 2018.
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