Water-Related News

Polk County Health officials issue blue-green algae bloom alert for Lake Haines-Four Lakes dock

The Florida Department of Health in Polk County has issued a Health Alert for the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins in Lake Haines-Four Lakes Dock. This is in response to a water sample taken on September 15, 2021. The public should exercise caution in and around the Lake Haines-Four Lakes Dock.

Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Do not drink, swim, wade, use personal watercraft, water ski or boat in waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • Keep pets away from the area. Waters where there are algae blooms are not safe for animals. Pets and livestock should have a different source of water when algae blooms are present.
  • Do not cook or clean dishes with water contaminated by algae blooms. Boiling the water will not eliminate the toxins.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • Do not eat shellfish in waters with algae blooms.

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria that is common in Florida’s freshwater environments. A bloom occurs when rapid growth of algae leads to an accumulation of individual cells that discolor water and often produce floating mats that emit unpleasant odors.

Some environmental factors that contribute to blue-green algae blooms are sunny days, warm water temperatures, still water conditions and excess nutrients. Blooms can appear year-round but are more frequent in summer and fall. Many types of blue-green algae can produce toxins.

Is it harmful?

Blue-green algae blooms can impact human health and ecosystems, including fish and other aquatic animals.

For additional information on potential health effects of algal blooms, visit floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins.

Find current information about Florida’s water quality status and public health notifications for harmful algal blooms and beach conditions by visiting ProtectingFloridaTogether.gov. (opens in a new window)Protecting Florida Together is the state’s joint effort to provide statewide water quality information to

How a Partnership with Ducks Unlimited is Helping to Restore 11,000-acres of Floodplain in the Kissi

Did you know that Gardner-Cobb Marsh is the largest District property near the Kissimmee Upper Chain of Lakes? The Gardner-Cobb Marsh consists of 11,000-acres of land nestled in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes watershed between Cypress Lake, Lake Hatchineha and Lake Kissimmee. Gentle slopes in elevation of mere inches results in a rolling landscape that produces a contrast in natural communities. Swamps, pine flatwoods and wet prairie are the dominant habitats found here, and in the fall and spring they burst with an array of wildflowers.

The goals of the Gardner-Cobb Marsh Restoration Project are to:

  • Enhance existing wetlands by reducing drainage and extending the hydroperiod (number of days per year that an area of land is wet).
  • Restore about 6,371 acres of over-drained marsh and natural wet prairie floodplain.
  • Provide habitat for native wildlife.
  • Improve water quality in the Okeechobee watershed.

Court vacates NWPR, is still weighing WOTUS restoration

A federal judge on Monday tossed out a Trump-era rule that rolled back water pollution protections, but is still weighing whether to restore Obama-era protections or simply undo the Trump rollback to return to pre-Obama regulations. In a court order, Judge Rosemary Márquez, an Obama appointee, vacated the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which governed which bodies of water get protection from pollution. Márquez remanded the rule for reconsideration to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Trump administration in 2019 repealed an Obama-era rule known as the Waters of the United States Rule, which expanded federal protections for smaller waterways.

And last year, the former administration put forward an additional rule, the NWPR, that reversed some protections, including for wetlands, that had been in place for decades.

The 2020 rule is the one that Márquez tossed and gave parties to a lawsuit challenging it 30 days to file proposals about what to do about the repeal rule.

The decision comes as the Biden administration seeks to revise the rule and asked the court to send the Trump rule back to it for reconsideration.