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Smelly, ‘Guacamole-Thick’ Algae Invades Florida’s Most Loved Beaches

Jul 01, 2016 04:07 AM EDT
Palm Beach Shores
Palm Beach, Florida: An algae crisis is happening in Florida as smelly, thick algae invades the state’s popular beaches.
(Photo : WPPilot / Wikimedia Commons)

Foul-smelling, "guacamole-thick" algae have invaded a stretch of beaches in Florida.

Amidst the algae crisis, which has affected the state's "Treasure Coast" pride, Florida governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in counties Martin and St. Lucie, and recently adding on the list Lee County on Florida's Gulf coast and Palm Beach County directly south of the affected areas, reports.

According to Orlando Sentinel, the algae crisis was a result of freshwater flows under Army officials' control to protect Lake Okeechobee's dike from eroding. Residents and business owners blamed the algae on the lake's pollutants.

Residents describe the contaminant as horrible, smelly and "guacamole-thick."

"The water is like thick pea soup and has blue color in it as well. It stinks like a dead rotting something! .. (The manatee was) clearly was in search of fresh water as well as struggling to clear its airways," Chris Mascia Palas, a resident of Stuart, Florida, wrote on Facebook.

The blue-green algae crisis is the latest contamination case in the year-long arguments involving water flowing from Lake Okeechobee, which is critical to South Florida's water supply and flood control systems.

Pea-green and brown algae had started to coat the water at the Central Maine boat docks on Thursday, which was said to smell strongly of cow manure.

Algae blooms that started the previous week in St. Lucie River continue to spread and threaten Atlantic beaches.

Florida senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, together with Martin County commissioners, have called for the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the flow of water between the river and Lake Okeechobee.

According to Bill Nelson, Florida has had problems in the past diverting water into the ocean.

"We need to repair 75 years of diking and draining, but that takes time," he said in a report by

The contamination is also rapidly becoming a health concern, as one tourist reportedly had breathing issues triggered by the algae.

Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in Florida and the second largest body of freshwater in the continental U.S. A devastating hurricane in 1928 has caused the waters to overflow, killing about 2,500 people in the neighboring communities.

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