Blue-green algae creeps back into the Caloosahatchee River

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An unwelcoming sight is creeping back into the Caloosahatchee River.

“We read stories about last year before we got here,” said Becky Nichols, Fort Denaud neighbor, “and we were just really afraid about that and not to find this.”

Nichols woke up Tuesday morning to find algae in the Caloosahatchee River. She could not help but think the worst.

“It’s very concerning,” Nichols said.

She is worried it is the same toxic blue-green algae that plagued the river last year. WINK News took a sample of it to Professor Serg Thomas at the Florida Gulf Coast University Water School.

“This is the type of algae bloom we’re currently seeing on the Caloosahatchee River,” Thomas said.

Traces of blue-green algae have returned. Last month, the Army Corps of Engineers reduced water releases from Lake Okeechobee in hopes that algae levels would decrease.

Scientists said it is also possible the algae could dissipate with more rain. But, Thomas said it is hard to tell if the lake is to blame for the algae at Fort Denaud.

“We have our own local population of algae that are sometimes cryptic,” Thomas said. “You don’t see them and when the conditions are right, they just bloom.”

The blooms happen when our temperatures heat up. Thomas said more blooms in more areas are possible. The process releases nutrients, which can be used to feed other types of algae, including saltwater algae.

It is something neighbors in Southwest Florida are not too excited about.

“Something needs to be done,” Nichols said.

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