BY GISELE-GALOUSTIAN | 1/9/2018
All eyes were on southeast Florida’s St. Lucie Estuary in 2016 as it received national attention due to beach closures on the Fourth of July weekend from the massive amounts of toxic green slime that covered parts of the 7-mile-long inlet linked to a coastal river system. Microcystis aeruginosa – a freshwater blue-green alga that can produce toxins – wreaked havoc on this important ecosystem prompting researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to get to the root of the problem. This bloom event followed a one-year watershed to reef study. Results of the study, which uncovered a major source of nutrients driving the harmful algal blooms, stink.
Contrary to the widespread misconception that periodic discharges from Lake Okeechobee alone produced these harmful algal blooms, FAU Harbor Branch’s study provides multiple lines of evidence that nutrient sources in the local basins, including on-site sewage and septic systems, contaminated the St. Lucie Estuary, in particular, its urbanized sections as well as its watershed. Results of the study are published in the journal Harmful Algae.
Read more here