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Algae, red tide impacting SWFL water quality

Reporter: Morgan Rynor
Published: Updated:

Algae and red tide are having an impact on the water quality in Southwest Florida.

SWFL escaping red tide

The Collier County coast doesn’t have the higher concentrations of red tide that Lee and Charlotte counties are dealing with, making it a popular destination for July 4th festivities.

“I don’t need it on the weekend when I’m relaxing or on a holiday,” said Punta Gorda resident Matthew Wheatcroft.

Wheatcroft made the trip to Vanderbilt Beach to avoid the red tide affecting several beaches north of Collier County.

“It’s bad a lot of fish kills and hard to breathe scratchy back of the throat you’re coughing all day especially when the winds are coming off the water,” Wheatcroft said.

Barry Rotenberg comes to Vanderbilt Beach every for every Fourth of July, and said this year is busier than usual.

Rotenberg said the unsavory conditions are driving people down to Collier County.

“I feel sorry they got to go up to the pools or drive an hour north or 40 miles south to get to the clear beaches or the pools,” Rotenberg said.

Rotenberg added he’s thankful the dead fish aren’t popping up here.

“I’d be very unhappy I mean I would be using the pool rather than the beach,” Rotenberg said.

People who made the drive down south said the water at Vanderbilt Beach has clear water and no algae — making it better quality.

Blue-green algae in the Cape

Cape Coral residents are expressing their concerns with the blue-green algae plaguing the area.

WINK News reporter Morgan Rynor spoke with beachgoers as the algae continues to spread. Watch the full segment below:

The river contains high levels of toxins in the blue-green algae, according to experts.

Experts added physically disrupting the algae —like a boat— could actually cause it to grow more once the water’s settled.

Captain David Mensid, of Florida Son Fishing Charter, said he plans to keep his boat docked.

“This year the water is just too nasty I don’t want to take the chance of getting him sick,” Mensid said.

WINK News reporter Kelsey Kushner checked in with concerned residents. Watch the full segment below: