Gross gunk from the gulf washing ashore will soon go away

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson
Published: Updated:
Drift algae washes ashore. (Credit: WINK News)
Drift algae washes ashore. (Credit: WINK News)

Big globs of wet brown algae covering Lighthouse Beach.

Lisa Wood and her daughter, Alexia, had to pick through the gunk to find sea shells to bring home from their vacation.

“We wont be coming back to this beach again,” Lisa said. “When we came here it was because he had said its white sandy beaches, its beautiful, its you know, and we got here and there’s all this.”

Dr. Rick Bartleson, a marine scientist with the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, said bad red tide and Lake Okeechobee releases killed a lot of the marine life that normally feeds on Marco Island algae. It is causing the massive amounts seen on Fort Myers Beach and now Sanibel Island shores.

“When the oxygen levels in the water go to zero, or near zero, then everything that’s on the bottom that cant swim away dies,” Bartleson said.

But the good news is marine organisms will build back up again, thanks to the warmer water temps and normal salinity levels. Then, the drift algae will naturally go away.

“You walk through it and it feels gross and it just gives me the shivers,” said Alexis Wood Pennaock, a visitor.

But even hearing the beaches will be clean and beautiful again soon, some said we have to continue to push government and state leaders for better water quality solutions.

“If they don’t start attacking it to where the problem is, it’s going to continue to happen its only going to get worse.”

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