By Dorie Cox
Some seawalls in Fort Lauderdale are lined with dried green algae and many waterways have areas that are bright with algal bloom. The green particulates are being monitored throughout the state of Florida and are primarily found in the east-west waterway from Fort Myers, through Lake Okeechobee, to Stuart with areas in Fort Lauderdale’s Broward County affected.
The tiny living organisms were in the waters of the marinas on the New River last year and are back more prominently this year, according to David Hole, general manager of Marina Mile Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale.
“I thought it was paint dust,” Hole said during a tour of the marina’s waters in early September. “It’s not stringy and it’s not coagulated. It’s like it’s powdery, lying on the surface.”
Although the algae is unsightly, he said it does not appear to cause major problems with yachts. Because floating vessels rise with tidal changes, the algae does not seem to dry on hulls.
Cable Marine is also along the New River and manager Kasey Collins said he has not heard complaints from engineers. He recommends engineers check their filters and strainers just in case algae accumulates in vessel intakes.
“We’ve even had divers in the water,” Collins said in early September.
The density of the tiny particulates decreases with tidal flows and increases with sunlight. Surfaces vary from nearly covering areas to thinner wisps and waves of green. When stirred up, it takes some time for the algae particulates to rise back to the surface where they rest.
“When there are excess nutrients in the water, the algae grow more rapidly and multiply quickly, creating a ‘bloom’,” according to a statement from Chaz Adams, public affairs manager with the city of Fort Lauderdale. “Blooms are a seasonal, natural occurrence in Florida during the summer months due to the warmer water and increased nutrients.”
Chief Stew Cassie Bronkie on M/Y Sugaray is concerned about the health implications of the algae and has seen dead sea life and iguanas in the water where algae blooms are present. She hopes others will report sightings of the bright green water.
People can make reports to Florida Department of Environmental Protection at +1 855-305-3903 or online at floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom.
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.