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Friday, November 10, 2006

Annoying algae

Published: Nov 8, 2006
Thick, hair-like algae called lyngbya clings to limestone submerged in the spring. Gone is much of the grassy vegetation that grew from the spring’s bottom. The silky algae hinders light from getting to other aquatic plant life and often spreads to create dense mats at the floor of the water body it inhabits.

It’s estimated that there’s about 1,000 cubic yards of lyngbya in the head spring and another 5,000 cubic yards of sediment and other “organics” that have settled at the top of the river near Buccaneer Bay, according to Swiftmud spokesman Michael Molligan.

It’s unclear when the nuisance algae began choking out native vegetation or how it ended up in the spring. In some areas where lyngbya thrives, experts believe it’s because of slow-moving water. In other areas it may be attributed to recreational impacts or disturbance, Craw said. Still, some people think it’s because of increased nutrients in the water from things like fertilizer in water runoff.
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