Scientists identify the mysterious muck floating in Cape Coral canals

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Some of the brownish-green gunk in a Cape Coral canal. (Credit: WINK News)
Some of the brownish-green gunk in a Cape Coral canal. (Credit: WINK News)

Brown gunk is floating in Cape Coral canals. Neighbors noticed it popping up a few weeks ago. It is different from the blue-green algae that we are used to seeing.

A sample WINK News took straight to experts looks kind of green when it is out of the water and a little like moss. But it is covering a Cape Coral canal and neighbors are getting worried.

It is brownish-green, stringy and covering a southeast Cape Coral canal.

“We don’t really know what it is.,” said Lawrence Donaldson, a Cape Coral resident.

“I don’t know what it is,” said Anne Marie Alonso, a Cape Coral resident. “I don’t know what it looks like I can’t identify it.”

Alonso said the gunk showed up maybe a month ago. Since then, she and her neighbors have wondered if it is algae and whether or not to be worried.

“My biggest concern is it’s here longer than it ever was before,” Alonso said.

Wanting answers for the environmental concern, we took the sample to experts at Florida Gulf Coast University Water School. Under the microscope, the experts said it is mostly prawns or vegetation that is covered in algae. But, they said it is different from blue-green algae.

The vegetation typically sits at the bottom of the canal. Around this time of the year, it can float at the top, leaving a mysterious muck.

The scientists said the algae are benign and nothing these neighbors need to worry about. While it is bad this year, the gunk will clean up on its own.

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