An advisory was issued Tuesday due to an increased presence of blue-green algae along the Caloosahatchee River and Yacht Club Beach, the City of Cape Coral said.
Residents were advised to swim at their own risk, not to eat fish from these areas or allow pets to drink the water, according to a city spokesperson.
The advisory signs were posted at the following places:
- Rosen Park
- Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve
- Horton Park
- Jaycee Park
- Yacht Club Beach
The signs will be kept in place until the algae leaves the area.
Recent DEP maps show traces of algae blooms have traveled as far west as the southern tip of Cape Coral.
Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen expressed her concerns with the lack of progress associated with the alage.
“Well everyone is outraged, and I don’t blame them because this is exactly what happened last year,” Fitzenhagen said. “It’s like Groundhog Day in Fort Myers.”
Fitzenhagen said she thinks government agencies, like the Army Corps of Engineers, failed to properly plan for what has become a recurring problem.
“I understand that they have to make those very difficult decisions about releases,” Fitzenhagen said. “But at the same time, we’ve had a year to try to plan ahead and think,’Is there anything else, what are some other options, can we do anything?'”
Gov. Rick Scott has yet to declare a state of emergency.
Scott’s office told WINK News that “congress has failed to act for decades … and the governor will never stop fighting to ensure that these communities have the clean water they deserve.”
Fitzenhagen echoed the need for a state of emergency declaration.
“Let’s all just do a self-declaration,” Fitzenhagen said. “It is a state of emergency.”
Despite the warnings, some still are using the river.
“It’s not a permanent thing,” said Georgia resident Shane Fitzpatrick. “It does concern me if it was what caused it.”
Others still have questions.
“And can they control it and stop it from happening again? Because it would hurt the fishing industry if it’s something long-term,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fisherman Jacob Baker said he wants a solution, and soon.
“It’s been terrible,” Baker said. “Shuts the whole day of fishing down and kills a lot of the wildlife around and everything else.”
To track the testing of the algae blooms in Southwest Florida, click here.