Brown tide identified in portions of Indian River Lagoon

PALM BAY, Fla., Jan. 25, 2016 –St. Johns River Water Management District scientists are monitoring a “brown tide” in portions of the Indian River Lagoon. “Brown tide has become prominent in most of Banana River Lagoon and in the Indian River Lagoon from Cocoa south to near Rockledge,” said Dr. Charles Jacoby, a supervising environmental scientist with the district. “In addition, chlorophyll levels remain high in Mosquito Lagoon due to a mixture of single-celled algae, including the organism responsible for brown tides.”

Algal blooms are one focus of the Indian River Lagoon Protection Initiative, which the district launched in the spring of 2013. The initiative includes a multi-year investigation in which the district and outside experts will increase their scientific understanding of blooms through data collection, field and lab analysis, and model development.

Currently, the district and partners are constructing or have completed numerous projects to improve water and habitat quality in the Indian River Lagoon while expanding the science needed to manage the 156-mile-long waterway. Projects include restoring natural flow to the St. Johns River by diverting storm water away from the lagoon, rehabilitating coastal marshes, and installing equipment that tracks water quality in real time. Visit for information about these projects.

“So far, water temperatures haven’t been sufficiently cold to help knock the bloom down,” Jacoby said. “In the bigger picture, it took decades for water quality to get where it is; it’s going to take time and effort to generate long-term improvements.”

The district is committed to developing strategies to reduce their magnitude, duration and frequency of algal blooms. Visit for updates on lagoon conditions.