Did you know that in 2000, Agua Hedionda Lagoon almost had to be shut down because of a killer algae called Caulerpa taxifolia? Hi, welcome back to 80 seconds of Agua where I am going to tell you a little history about our beloved lagoon.
Caulerpa taxifolia is a seaweed native to the Indian Ocean and commonly found in house aquariums due to its ornamental fern like appearance, fast growth, and longevity. Known for its ability to blanket the seafloor with mats of dense fronds, it overwhelms native plants and leaves native animals with little to eat, changing the ecological diversity of the lagoon tremendously.
This "super seaweed" or more commonly nicknamed, killer algae, was found in the lagoon in 2000 near Snug Harbor, caused by someone dumping their aquarium contents, including the seaweed into a storm drain which ran right into the lagoon. Thankfully, the strain was spotted early enough that it was considered controllable and with a 7 million dollar grant, in which the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, was the fiscal agent. The seaweed was removed through tarping the inhabited sections and applying chlorine. This caused a partial closure system where the lagoon was divided into zones and fishing was banned temporarily to eliminate the spread of the algae by getting snagged on the hooks.
The seaweed was successfully eradicated in 2006 and monitoring still occurs today.
This algae is one of two algae listed on the worlds 100 most invasive species list by the International Union of Conservation Nature and the sale and transportation of Caulerpa is forbidden federally by law.
The Foundation celebrates the eradication annually with a fundraiser around the lagoon. Join us on March 11th for Tip Top Run!