Harmful blue-green algae found in Plantation waterways

PLANTATION, Fla. – Officials are advising residents of one Plantation neighborhood to avoid swimming in nearby canals due to blue-green algae being found in the water.

Residents in Plantation Isles spotted the algae in a canal that lines Southwest 16th Street.

"We've lived here for a while, and we've never seen this much magnitude of algae," one resident, who did not want to be identified, told Local 10 News. 

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, thrives in warm, nutrient-rich water such as lakes or canals.

"Whenever you have, kind of, a mono-culture of this cyanobacteria, which means it's a large population, you should be concerned." said Dr. Jose Lopez of Nova Southeastern University.

"With high numbers, there could be more toxins, so we have to be careful of that and heed the warnings. Don't swim, don't bring your pets, don't drink the water."

Toxins from the algae can make humans and animals sick. Three dogs died earlier this month after swimming in a North Carolina pond containing blue-green algae.

Residents are being told to keep pets away from the canals.

Tests done by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection showed low levels of the toxin, microsystis aerugnisa, that can cause serious health issues.

A 10-year-old neighborbood fisherman told Local 10 News that he has been catching less fish since the algae began popping up in the area.

"I come out a lot and I would throw my rod out and catch a few fish," said Julian Dieppa. "And I haven't been seeing them a lot lately." 

Blue-green algae blooms have been a consistent nuisance in Florida, but not often seen in the South Florida area.

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