JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Action News has been following the spread of green algae along the St. Johns River for months, and despite freezing temperatures the past two nights, St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman still isn't sure it's dead.
“In addition to high toxicity levels, the algae was just so persistent, and that's what was so alarming this year.”
Rinaman said the algae season usually ends in August, but water enthusiasts submitted pictures to officials of the algae continuing to spread in Riverside over the holidays. In all, the algae bloomed for more than nine months.
There is hope now, however, with water temperatures dipping into the 50s this week.
“It should help with the green algae, however, it does not do anything to help us with the nutrient pollution,” said Rinaman.
Bill Parker lives in Empire Point where Action News found algae collecting on docks just last month.
“In our area, it seemed like it kind of came in with the wind, this past year. We didn’t see the large collections of it like we have in the past.”
Parker said he and his neighbors have been working to cut back on nutrient pollution, which is blamed for the blooms.
“Maybe what we're doing is the right thing.”
Rinaman hopes their efforts continue. Even if the cold weather kills off this year's algae, she said it will likely come back next summer, and she's hoping not any sooner.
“If it continues to thrive even in the colder waters then we have another problem on our hand we need to understand. We are monitoring levels very closely and want anyone who sees it to let us know.”
To report sightings of green algae in the St. Johns River, go to stjohnsriverkeeper.org or call (904) 256-7919.