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Part I - Impact and Causes of Blue Green Algae on Real Estate Prices

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In this blog we will discuss the impact of unnatural blue-green algae blooms and its negative effects on Florida waterfront and coastal real estate. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is a type of bacteria that can occur naturally in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, ponds and the ocean.

Real estate values in the affected areas may be negatively impacted by the presence of blue-green algae in bodies of water. Blue-green algae can lead to toxic algal blooms. These blooms have the potential to release poisons that are bad for the environment, animals, and people. When blue-green algae blooms occur in areas that are popular for recreational activities, such as boating, fishing, or swimming, it can significantly impact the desirability of the area. Potential homebuyers may be turned off by the blooms’ offensive odor, ugly appearance, and possible health dangers.

In Florida, the specific causes of blue-green algae blooms are attributed to a combination of natural factors and human activities. Some key factors contributing to the occurrence of blue-green algae in Florida are as follows:

  1. Nutrient Pollution: One of the main factors is nutrient pollution, particularly the excessive presence of nitrogen and phosphorus in water bodies. “Miracle Grow” type fertilizers seep into the water systems from land leading to the unnatural spike in algae growth. These nutrients can come from a variety of places, such as wastewater discharges, rainwater runoff, and agricultural runoff (example: sugar cane fields). High nitrogen levels in bodies of water create environments where blue green algae flourish and multiply quickly.
  2. Warm Climate and Sunlight: Florida’s warm climate and ample sunlight provides ideal conditions for blue-green algae growth. Warm temperatures promote the growth of algae, and sunlight fuels photosynthesis, thus allowing blue-green algae to thrive.
  3. Changes in Water Flow and Salinity: Alterations in water flow, such as dam construction or changes in natural water flow patterns, can disrupt the ecological balance of a water body. Additionally, changes in salinity due to freshwater discharges can impact the composition of the algal community, favoring the growth of blue-green algae.
  4. Urbanization and Development: Rapid urbanization and increased development in coastal areas can lead to the loss of natural buffers and wetlands. These natural areas act as filters, helping to remove excess nutrients before they reach water bodies. Urbanization can also contribute to increased nutrient runoff and pollution, exacerbating the occurrence of blue-green algae blooms.
  5. Indian River and ocean: The Indian River Lagoon is a brackish water estuary influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The exchange of water between these two water bodies helps maintain salinity levels within the lagoon. If the balance between freshwater and ocean water is disrupted salinity levels are impacted and favor the growth of blue-green algae. The exchange of water between the Indian River and the ocean plays a significant role in water circulation within the lagoon. Proper water circulation helps disperse nutrients, prevent stagnant conditions, and flush out algae populations. If water exchange is limited or impeded, it can contribute to the accumulation and persistence of blue-green algae blooms.

As consumers grow hesitant to purchase homes close to contaminated water bodies, real estate values in blue-green algae-affected areas may drop. Blue-green algae can also result in water consumption limitations or advisories, which reduces the utility and enjoyment of waterfront properties.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the effect on real estate prices will change based on the extent and duration of the blue-green algae blooms as well as the general situation of the local economy. In some cases, the negative effects on real estate prices may be temporary, with prices rebounding once the algae blooms are addressed and the water quality improves. However, if the issue persists or becomes chronic, it can have a more significant and long-lasting impact on property values.

Share this with a friend that may not even realize that this is happening in Florida. Everyone talks about the problems but what are some solutions? Click this link for our blog about the possible solutions to stopping the unnatural blue green algae growth.

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