Rain water could cause the next red tide bloom

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Experts are saying all this rain water is causing the first flush of the season where nutrient-rich fresh water is mixing in with the salt water of the Gulf.

This flush could cause the next red tide bloom to grow close to the mouth of the Caloosahatchee.

The possibility of red tide isn’t something new to Southwest Florida beach goers.

“You hear people getting sick from it,” said Southwest Florida resident Jon Lough. “The upper respiratory and infections, and all that, so we stay away from it.”

Experts say that the recent rainfall helped break up the big bloom, but it could also cause the toxic algae levels rise back up.

“The first flush of the season, that’s when most of the nutrients will come in,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. “So, that’s when we’re worried most about now, that increase in nutrients that might magnify the effect of red tide.”

All this rainfall is also adding to the possibility of increasing freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee.

Lake Okeechobee’s levels are rising everyday, and the Army Corps may soon have to send more of that water to Southwest Florida.

“We just came off of six months of way too dry, not enough freshwater,” Cassani said. “Now we have too much freshwater.”

Cassani also says that the freshwater from the rain is throwing off the balance in saltwater, which could lead to more fish kills.

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