By Erin MacPherson
October 19, 2017
Dr. James Sullivan, a professor at Harbor Branch, has been monitoring algae that moved into the Sebastian and Vero Beach area from the Banana River.
“We do have harmful active algal blooms going on right now,” said Dr. Sullivan.
Dr. Sullivan said the algal blooms happen almost every year in the Banana River, but usually stay there. He said, “I don’t know we’ve seen any blooms ever reported down here for that particular algae. It does appear to be growing pretty well right now.”
He added that the algae growing in the northern end of the Treasure Coast is a salt water adapted algae, not freshwater algae like what we saw last year from Lake Okeechobee.
While they’re keeping a close eye on the bloom, Dr. Sullivan said right now they’re not seeing any harmful effects. He said he’s thankful it didn’t happen in the beginning of the season.
“The one thing about these blooms and especially harmful algal blooms they tend to do better in warm temperature. We’re transitioning into fall and winter which tends to keep growth rates low and we don’t see this massive blooms,” said Dr. Sullivan.
In addition to monitoring the algae, Dr. Sullivan said he has other concerns for the St. Lucie River.
He said the rise in toxins and nutrients has gone up tremendously and the oxygen levels have decreased significantly.