St. Johns Riverkeeper speaks on toxic algal blooms in Clay County lake

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — The St. Johns Riverkeeper is warning people about toxic algae discovered in Doctors Lake in Clay County.

Algae is currently blooming and officials are warning people to stay out of the water.

Action News Jax spoke with officials Tuesday about the effect of algal blooms on people’s health. “We’re getting reports of blue-green algae, which really is a cyanobacteria,” says Lisa Rinaman with the St.Johns River Keeper

Rinaman, says right now parts of Doctors Lake in Clay County are in bad shape.

“What happens when you have green slime on the surface it can be toxic. We are seeing some toxicity levels that are concerning,” says Rinaman.

Rinaman says when this toxic alga rises to the surface of the water; people should try their best to avoid it.

“You should not swim in green slime, you shouldn’t fish, you shouldn’t boat. Because your boat weight can kick up the toxins,” says Rinaman.

She says there are some potential health risks if you inhale too much air near significant algae blooms.

“There are short-term impacts where it can cause itchy eyes, and you can have respiratory distress,” says Rinaman.

We went out to Doctors Lake and found many people were still out on the water.

Bernie Gold is a fisherman he says he didn’t even know that the algae count was high in the lake.

“Not concerning to me I still swim in it every day, I fish a lot, so it keeps me from doing what I like to do hopefully it’s not hurting anyone else,” says Rinaman.

Rinaman wants to remind people if you don’t see algae in the water, it doesn’t mean it’s not there

“When you see an outbreak say there is one out there on Monday you go out on Tuesday and it’s not there, that doesn’t mean the toxins aren’t there,” says Rinaman.

Now officials say they don’t know how long it will take for these algae bloom to die off.