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On Friday (Dec. 11, 2020) Warning sign at Constitution Bicentennial Park on 520 in Cocoa Beach warned about blue green algae. MALCOM DENEMARK / FLORIDA TODAY

FL - Signs warn of potentially toxic blue-green algae in the Indian River Lagoon

Posted signs warned of possible toxic water as more foam and fish floated up in Cocoa Friday, hinting at another round of foul fallout from an ongoing algae bloom in the Indian River Lagoon that has scientists and residents wondering what's next.

The lagoon lathered up this week, as winds agitated organic matter from rotting algae into seafoam-like suds. Then in the past few days, yet more dead fish floated up in the Banana River in Cocoa, threatening a replay of fish die-offs earlier this month.

"The water has gone from green to reddish-brown," said Duane DeFreese, executive director of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program. "Who knows where this goes from here. We're concerned the system is right at that edge."

All that nasty water prompted Florida health officials to post the signs,where nearby samples under the microscope showed a yet-to-be-identified tiny round reddish-brown algae with a tail that propels it through the water. The signs warn: "Caution: blue-green algae may be in these waters. There may be toxins. Use caution if you see algae at this time." The sign goes on to warn against swimming, getting water in your eyes, nose or mouth, or eating shellfish. It says people should rinse fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out guts and "cook fish well." It also warns to keep pets and livestock away from the water.

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