Expert sends Cape Coral water sample to be tested for blue-green algae

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
WINK News drone captures image of possible blue-green algae bloom in the Shaughnessey canal near neighbors’ homes in Cape Coral. Credit: WINK News.

Neighbors who live nearby the Shaughnessey canal in Cape Coral are concerned now that it might have fallen victim to a blue-green algae bloom.

Water experts told us Friday storms over the weekend will wash more nutrients into canals like the Shaughnessey. If it’s blue-green algae, it could get worse with all the rain.

Director John Cassani, with Calusa Waterkeeper, first noticed the algae in the Shaughnessey two weeks ago.

“I’ve seen much, much worse,” Cassani said. “But with all this rain and the nutrients coming in to fuel it, it’s likely going to get worse through time.”

Cassani doesn’t yet know if what’s in this water is harmful. But because he fears it could be blue-green algae, he reported it to the state Friday.

“You don’t want to swim in it,” Cassani warned. “You don’t want your pets to be near it or drinking that water. And so this particular type of cyanobacteria doesn’t always produce toxins, but it could be. And it hasn’t been tested yet.”

People living near this canal are also taking notice of the green stuff in the water.

“It looks like pea soup,” neighbor Susan Speer said. “It gets very murky and almost like a milky-ish, green color.”

Neighbors aren’t sure exactly what the possible bloom is, and they won’t know until the Florida Department of Environmental Protection goes out, takes samples and tests it.

“It was so bad,” neighbor Bill Weller said. “I would take my nets, and I would scoop the stuff out and dump it in the lot next door.”

Weller said he is scooping out green gunk from the Shaughnessey every day, but he’s hoping for a long-term solution so the water in his backyard is no longer green or filled with algae.

“It was more surface stuff,” Weller said. “Now, it’s gotten more down in, you know, I used to be able to see the bottom.”

We reached out to the City of Cape Coral. They are contacting their environmental resources staff, and they expect to have a response by Monday.

They also told us that the earliest environmental protection will be out there collecting a sample will be sometime next week.

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