A smelly, “guacamole-thick” muck of algae is fast spreading in the waters of Florida’s Treasure Coast, where angry residents blame the federal government, state water managers and Florida Gov. Rick Scott for yet another spiraling environmental catastrophe.
The choking blue-green algae bloom is the latest contamination of the coastal waters caused by water releases from Lake Okeechobee intended to protect its aging dike.
Scott declared an emergency for Martin and St. Lucie counties on Wednesday and extended that to cover Palm Beach County and Lee County on the West Coast on Thursday. But for many, it was a gesture considered too little, too late in communities that have been repeatedly hammered by foul lake released over the last decade.
At Central Marine boat docks in Stuart on Thursday, pea-green and brown algae coated the water and smelled strongly like cow manure. Blooms that started last week in the St. Lucie River continue to spread, washing up under the docks of waterfront homes and marinas and threatening Atlantic beaches expected to draw crowds of families for the holiday weekend.