Looking at the algae crisis one year later

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Algae cleanup in a canal on Aug. 8, 2018 at Waterway Estates in North Fort Myers.

Tuesday marked one year since former Governor Rick Scott declared an emergency on this blue-green algae water crisis.

This year shows much improvement in the water quality in Southwest Florida, but people who live on the water fear there isn’t much stopping it from coming back if the waters rise again.

“Every day I’m down here by the water and looking at the water,” said Peter Formica, who checks daily on the water conditions near his home.

WINK News spoke to him last year at the height of the water crisis, when he was scooping thick blue-green algae out of the Cape Coral canal he lives on.

Residents feel we are in a much better place this year, despite the waters in the gulf being at a warm temperature. This leads one resident to think Lake Okechobee releases were at total fault.

“I mean the temperature of the gulf is warm so it might have something to do with the management of discharges from Lake Okeechobee,” Joanne Kreise said.

Algae expert and FGCU Director, Dr. Bill Mitsch says the loss of red tide and recent storms could also be helping the algae problem.

“If they’re doing intelligent things at Lake Okeechobee and minimizing the discharges that may be paying off,” Mitsch said.

Despite the major improvements one year later, homeowners remain cautiously optimistic about what could happen in the future.

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