Blue-Green Algae Task Force meets to discuss harmful algal blooms

Published: December 8, 2021 3:50 PM EST
Updated: December 8, 2021 4:05 PM EST

The state’s blue-green algae task force met on Wednesday to learn how researchers at the state and federal levels keep tabs on harmful algal blooms.

By collecting samples and capturing satellite images, experts hope to paint a complete picture of what’s in the water.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explained how its “Cyanobacteria Assessment Network Application” is a tool where people can access satellite images from lakes and reservoirs across the country.

The hope is these pictures complement water samples taken down on Earth.

That’s where the South Florida Water Management District comes in. The District has expanded both its monitoring locations around Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie and different qualities it samples for, including nutrients.

Task Force member Dr. Mike Parsons wants to look at these spots more in-depth.

“How the monitoring and sampling that’s being done by the South Florida Water Management District, as well as DEP, how is their coverage in their activity really addressing these hotspots,” Parsons said.

Researchers hope to better use this data to forecast where and when harmful algal blooms will happen.