Red tide lingering near Southwest Florida’s coasts

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
florida red tide
Credit: WINK News

Red tide has been lingering longer than usual at Lee and Collier County beaches. 

Those at Bonita Springs Beach Park have been experiencing some of these symptoms as they get out for Mother’s Day. Collier County beachgoers have been experiencing that as well.

Sebastian Giangregorio lives in Collier County. “It’s been horrible,” Giangregorio said.

Frank Saitta also lives nearby. “The water gets like a brown color it’s just ugly,” Saitta said.

This year it seems like Red Tide does not want to say goodbye.

“It’s been spotty we’ve been several times, and on different occasions, we’ve had coughing and sneezing,” said John Colgin, another Collier resident.

Many beachgoers fear this bloom lingering could actually keep people off the beach this Mother’s Day weekend.

“It’s sad because so many visitors come from around the world come to Naples only to get here, and you can’t even breath,” Giangregorio said.

Health officials recommend that people experiencing these symptoms stay away from beach areas or go into an air-conditioned space. If symptoms do not subside, please contact your health care provider for evaluation.

Collier County Pollution Control is also worried about the upcoming months and how red tide lingering could impact travel. Rhonda Watkins works with the county’s pollution control and is a red tide expert.

“The last readings we had some high and medium readings in the north, and we saw dead fish,” Watkins said.

“It seems to be ramping up a little bit. Here we are, into May, we’re hoping this is its last Big Bang, and it will be gone for summer,” said Watkins.

But, if not, we may have a problem.

“If we get into rainy season before red tide is completely gone and water temps come down, and we have more runoff that could continue to feed it,” Watkins said.

The algae blooms could get worse, too.

“The anticipation of the water getting nasty and red tide it’s not a comfortable feeling,” Saitta said.

But, Frank Saitta and others say he won’t let this ruin his family’s weekend.

“Is it upsetting and annoying that this happens? Yes. But do all the things outweigh it? The beach, the friendliness, yes, it makes it worth it,” Saitta said.

Health officials say red tide symptoms can change throughout the day. Continue checking the status and if you have breathing issues, the beach may not be the place to be this weekend.

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