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Episode 902: Toxic Algae: Complex Sources and Solutions

For the past two decades, the residents of Martin county and the surrounding areas have been faced with a silent curse. A guacamole thick mat of blue-green algae periodically grows and clogs the waterways. These toxic algal blooms kill local marine life and even cause short term and long term health effects in humans. Scientists say that the source of these problems is in Lake Okeechobee. “Lake O,” as it is known, once South Florida’s lifeline for fresh water, is now a dumping ground for pollutants from agriculture, farming, and septic tank effluent. When the lake accumulates enough of these fertilizers, blue-green algae grow, and they are released when water levels are too high. The solution to this problem is complex, but those affected by it are urging experts to find it fast.


Meet the experts featured in this episode.

Image Credits

Changing Seas would like to thank the following individuals and institutions who kindly allowed their footage, images and other media to be used in this production:

Paul Cox, Ph.D.

Jeff Gammons

Martin County Board of County Commissioners

Mary Radabaugh

James Metcalf, Ph.D.

NASA Earth Observatory

Dick Powell

Benjamin Szentpaly

US Army Corps of Engineers


State Archives of Florida

Special Thanks:

Deborah Mash, Ph.D.

Web Extras

Toxic Algae - Effects on Marine Life

Funding for this episode of Changing Seas was provided by: