What Is Lyngbya

“One Rake At A Time” Lyngbya Removal Project Created by Art Jones.

Sponsored and Assisted by The Kings Bay Rotary and Save Crystal River, Inc.



More than 65 species of Lyngbya exist


What exactly is Lyngbya?

Lyngbya is not a plant, a fungus, a bacteria, or a true algae.  It is actually a primitive form of life called Cyanobacteria, a blue-green algae capable of photosynthesis even in low light conditions.




  • Lyngbya lives in both saltwater and freshwater.
  • It forms long filamentous hair-like strands that mat together in thick layers along the bottom Kings Bay, sometimes 5′ thick.
  • It can rise 10-14 feet from the river’s bottom up to the water’s surface.
  • It is slimy to touch because of the mucus-like coating it produces.
  • Large floating mats of lyngbya rise to the surface because of the gases released by the bacteria that live inside the mats that deplete oxygen from the water.
  • Reproduction occurs by the formation of hormogonia, a portion of filament that detaches and reproduces by simple cell division.
  • Lyngbya is a worldwide problem with no simple solution for permanent removal.


How Is Lyngbya Harmful?  Lyngbya Removal One Rake At A Time 


  •   Thick mats clog spring vents and reduce flow.
  •   Crowds out beneficial native grasses that serve as a food supply and/or shelter for fish, shellfish, turtles, crabs, and numerous other native animals.
  •   Floating mats block sunlight from plants living on the bottom further limiting their survival.
  •   Lyngbya can be toxic to manatees who eat it because of the lack of food (native grasses) in Kings Bay.
  •   Possible cause of ulcerative dermatitis in manatees.
  •   Loss of oxygen in the water and native grassy habitat reduces abundance of fish, crabs, and other native animals, affecting both recreational and commercial fishing as well as ecosystem biodiversity.
  • Toxins produced by lyngbya can cause skin irritations, eye infections, and other health issues in humans.
  • Tourism and recreation are negatively affected by the unsightlyness, rotten egg smell, and entanglement problems associated with lyngbya.
  • Pets that drink from lyngbya infested waters can become mildly to severely ill from the toxins produced.


How Can We Get Rid of Lyngbya?

1.   Chemical Control – It works but accumulates in fish, manatees, and the bottom of the river.

2.   Eliminate excess nutrient sources – (like sewer and storm runoff and fertilizers):  a good long term solution but meanwhile the lyngbya just keeps growing.

3. Biological Controls – like carp, tilapia, or small arthropods to consume it, but they like the

native grasses better.


4. Mechanically remove it with Rakes and Mechanical Harvesters.

More than 1,000 tons of lyngbya have been removed from Kings Bay by this method. This Method is working!!



Click Here for More Information on Exotic Plant Removal from the University of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

How You Can Help

  • Call 352-795-9230 or 727-642-7659 to volunteer to Rake.
  • Make a donation to Save Crystal River, Inc.