Originally published in The News-Press by Chad Gillis on July 9, 2020

Recent satellite imagery shows a shrinking blue-green algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee, but it’s still too early in the summer to know whether or not a major bloom will manifest this year.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s most recent samples shows algae has been present across most of the lake in the past few weeks.

But satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from earlier this week show blue-green algae covering less than half of Okeechobee, with the densest patches being concentrated along the northwest shore.

On the Southwest Florida coast, the fear is that bloom conditions will worsen and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be forced to release water from the lake.

“It’s decreased in its spatial extend a little bit and its intensity, so it looks like the cell density is lower, so that’s good,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. “If the trend continues it could be good.”

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