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Over $300,000 going into FSU research tool to predict harmful algae blooms in freshwater lakes

The free, online tool can predict future algae blooms based on decades of data to help people prepare for unsafe waters
Over $300,000 going into FSU research tool to predict harmful algae blooms in freshwater lakes
Posted at 6:33 PM, Oct 24, 2023
  • FSU researcher Nasrin Alamdari has been developing the tool since 2022 and will complete it by January 2024.
  • The tool is free to use and can be found online by clicking or tapping here.
  • Watch now to hear from Alamdari about the dangers of blue-green algae blooms in a freshwater lake.

Predicting toxic algae outbreaks at your fingertips.

I'm Alberto Camargo your Collegetown neighborhood reporter.

Here at Florida State University, researchers have developed a free tool to help us prepare for unhealthy freshwater.

After outbreaks here at Lake Munson, the team is working to keep water across the state safe for everyone.

"This lake... it's not land. It's not supposed to look like this."

Take a drive to Lake Munson, you'll find signs like these all over the place.

Part of the problem here is harmful blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, that the Florida Department of Health says discolors water and can leave a bad smell. Friends of Lake Munson is a group that is dedicated to restoring the lake to what it should look like.

"I think Lake Munson is actually one of our greatest environmental treasures here, but unfortunately the pollution has kept it from moving forward."

Just last year, the Department of Health issued an alert for Lake Munson, making the lake unusable for months.

Researchers at FSU say we all should be more aware of these algae blooms, because...

"When we have this cyanobacteria or we call it blue-green algae, it will affect human health, it would affect biodiversity, ecosystem health..."

Nasrin Alamdari has been working on a tool to predict these blooms before they happen since July 2022.

It's a project that began in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

She says toxins from harmful algae can make freshwater fish unsafe to eat.
It can make freshwater unsafe to swim in.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says it can even negatively affect your pets' health.

This tool looks at all freshwater in Florida, but Alamdari says Lake Jackson, Lake Lafayette and Lake Munson are all at high risk.

Using this tool can help officials — and you — be prepared for another algae bloom...

" people can make informed decisions in the future."

A $338,575 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection helped make the research possible.

It's work Epstein says needs to be done because...

"This could be one of the most beautiful places in all of Leon County..."

The tool is still in development and is expected to be finished by January, when the FDEP will decide how to use it. In Collegetown, Alberto Camargo, ABC27.