Wet winter in 2015 launches spring algal bloom in the St. Lucie Estuary

A wetter than normal winter created conditions in May 2016 for an explosive plankton bloom in Lake Okeechobee. High lake levels required water to be discharged into the northern estuaries, and this initiated a second large bloom in the St. Lucie estuary. Algal blooms can appear in any body of water at any time under the right environmental conditions. But, the blooms that occurred in the spring of 2016 caused exceptional problems. Several factors combined to magnifying the size and intensity of the blooms. Therefore, restoration efforts target these factors with the goal of reducing the size and intensity of blooms when they occur.