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Weekly Water Quality Report

Florida Oceanographic Society provides a snapshot of local water quality conditions in the St. Lucie Estuary (SLE) and southern Indian River Lagoon (IRL) using data collected by our Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Program. This report provides an overview of ecosystem health and function for the SLE and IRL and includes a summary of additional water quality conditions from publicly available sources.


Part 1: Florida Oceanographic Society's Water Quality Report

Figure 1. Florida Oceanographic Society's Weekly Water Quality Report for ecosystem health in the SLE and southern IRL. The breakdown is provided by each zone and location for the measured water quality parameter. Grading is based on Secchi visibility, salinity and dissolved oxygen levels. PDF of the full map with information on grading categories.

Disclaimer: The data above indicates changes in water quality parameters to evaluate habitat health. This map is not to be used to indicate current bacteria levels, nutrient levels, or the presence of harmful algae blooms. For up to date information on bacteria levels, visit the Florida Health Beaches Program. For up to date information on nutrients levels, visit ORCA Kilroy or HBOI LOBO. For up to date information about algae blooms, visit the Florida DEP's algae bloom dashboard

Figure 2. Florida Oceanographic Society's Weekly Water Quality Map for the SLE and southern IRL. Grading is delineated by each zone.

Summary of Weekly Water Quality for Habitat Health for Reporting Week

This week’s water quality grade for habitat health in the SLE and southern IRL earned a “B+ based on water clarity, oxygen content, and salinity values in 38 reports across 10 zones.

Discharges from Lake Okeechobee increased to a 275 cfs constant schedule (current Lake Okeechobee daily status, see Table 2). Salinities across the SLE and IRL were poor – good across all zones. Figure 4 shows how these salinities affect oyster habitat health in the IRL.

Water clarity (visibility) was graded as fair – good for seagrass health across all zones within the SLE and IRL. Throughout the SLE and IRL, dissolved oxygen levels were fair – good at all sites.

Disclaimer: The data found on this report is collected by citizen scientists who volunteer their time and effort for the FOS FLOWSS program. Although the data is screened, it comes with no warranties regarding the completeness, accuracy or reliability and is intended for educational and outreach use only. Learn more about the FOS Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Program.

Figure 3. Weekly water quality grades for the SLE and southern IRL for 2022 (blue line) and 2023 (red line). 

Figure 4. Average weekly salinity upstream of the Roosevelt Bridge (Zones 1 – 4) and downstream of the Roosevelt Bridge (Zones 5 – 10). Salinity ratings are based on RECOVER Northern Estuaries Salinity Envelope Performance Measure of 2020. Find out more about the Florida Oceanographic oyster monitoring program and the Florida Oceanographic seagrass monitoring program.

Part 2: Summary of Water Quality Updates Obtained from Publicly Available Sources

Table 1.  All results were within acceptable levels for enterococcus bacteria. Click for current Martin County and St. Lucie County reports.


FDEP Blue-Green Algal Blooms Report

From the week of March 17, 2023 – March 23, 2023, FDEP reported algal bloom conditions in 17 of 21 samples collected. “The most recent usable satellite imagery from 3/22 shows scattered low bloom potential on Lake Okeechobee, primarily along the northern, western, and southern shorelines. Satellite imagery from 3/22 for the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries shows no bloom potential on visible portions of either estuary.”


SFWMD Weekly Environmental Conditions Reports

Lake Okeechobee: SFWMD reported on March 29, 2023 “Lake Okeechobee stage was 14.71 feet NGVD on March 26, 2023, with water levels 0.87 feet lower than a month ago. Lake stage was 0.21 feet above the upper limit of the ecological envelope. Average daily inflows (excluding rainfall) were similar to the previous week. Average daily outflows (excluding evapotranspiration) increased from the previous week. March water quality data revealed none of the 30 sites that were sampled had chlorophyll a value greater than 40 µg/L and only one site had detectible toxin levels. Recent satellite imagery (March 26, 2023) showed a low to moderate bloom potential in Fisheating Bay and a few scattered areas of low to moderate bloom potential in the northern pelagic regions.”

St. Lucie Estuary: SFWMD reported that “Total inflow to the St. Lucie Estuary averaged 357 cfs over the past week with 275 cfs coming from Lake Okeechobee. Mean salinities decreased at all sites in the estuary over the past week. Salinity in the middle estuary was in the optimal range (10-25) for adult eastern oysters.”


Table 2. Weekly average inflows into the SLE. Data reproduced from the SFWMD Environmental Conditions Report.


Reporting Observations for the Indian River Lagoon

Algal Bloom Monitoring: To report potential blue-green algal blooms, contact FDEP through their online form here or call 800-636-0511. 

Fish Kills Hotline: Please report observations of fish kills or diseased fish to the FWC Fish Kill Hotline through their online form here or call 800-636-0511. You can also download their fish kill reporting app by clicking here

IRL Otter Spotter Project: Have you seen a river otter?
Report it here!

IRL Diamondback Terrapin Sightings: Have you seen a diamondback terrapin?
Report it here!

Sawfish Sightings: Have you been lucky enough to spot a sawfish?
Report it here!

Dolphin Spotter: Have you seen a dolphin?
Report it here!

Horseshoe Crab Spotter: Have you seen horseshoe crabs?
Report it here!

Manatee Reporting: To report sick, injured, or dead manatees to FWC call 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922). 


Water Quality Report compiled by

Florida Oceanographic Society
890 NE Ocean Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996

Questions? Contact our Research Department: 
Email: dbecker@floridaocean.org
Office: 772-225-0505 ext. 112

Florida Oceanographic Society's mission is to inspire environmental stewardship of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through education, research and advocacy. 


This weekly report is made possible through the support of our members and generous donors. Please help Florida Oceanographic Society continue our critical monitoring and restoration efforts in local waterways by making a donation or becoming a member today! 


Florida Oceanographic Society
890 Northeast Ocean Blvd.,  | Stuart, Florida  34996
772.225.0505 | info@floridaocean.org

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