Summer heat is tough on fish in the Lagoon

August 3rd Satellite image. Red is algae detected. Green no algae

This is the time of year when more frequent rains coupled with longer daylight hours can create an environment that is ripe for localized algal blooms. There have been several reports of fish kills over the past few weeks, mainly in the Banana River basin around the Mathers Bridge and canals of Satellite Beach. Those familiar with the Lagoon say the seasonal high water temperature coupled with low dissolved oxygen (DO) levels create conditions that can trigger fish kills. Warmer water holds less oxygen and rain events carry a fresh flow of nutrients off the surrounding lands feeding localized algae blooms.  These blooms consume oxygen at night, leaving too little oxygen for the fish. If you encounter a fish kill, please report it to FWC online.

On the brighter side, water clarity is quite good across large areas of the lagoon and seagrass regrowth is being found in many places.  Nevertheless, these recent events just remind us of how quickly the pollutants entering the lagoon can trigger algal blooms in our warm, tropical waters.
Brevard County acquired a grant this year to use satellite images to map and track algae blooms in the lagoon. The Sentinel Viewer Tool for algae blooms is accessible online here. If you would like to receive emails from Brevard County regarding algae bloom monitoring updates you can sign up for notices here.