Blue-green algae bloom in Fort Myers Shores

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Smelly blue-green algae is covering the end of a boat launch at the Davis Boat Ramp at Fort Myers Shores.

Captains for Clean Water’s Chris Wittman said he’s concerned about how early we see blooms this season.

For now, we know a significant toxic algae bloom is present on Lake Okeechobee. In Fort Myers Shores, we have a bloom bad enough for a health advisory.

At eye level, you can see how blue-green algae floats on the water, moving with the wind and waves. From above, you can see its reach at the Davis Boat Ramp. It’s large but focused at one end.

Sherry Fredrickson, who lives across from the Davis Boat Ramp, spoke to WINK News about the bloom.

“Oh my gosh, it takes my breath away. I didn’t even realize it had come in,” Fredrickson said.

The blooms form so quickly you wouldn’t see any signs of them if you looked at the same spot a week earlier.

“This is this is not good,” Fredrickson noted.

The bloom in Fort Myers Shores was enough for the Florida Department of Health to issue a health advisory. At the same time, the blue-green algae in Lake Okeechobee are cause for concern for Wittman.

“The concerning thing here is with, as far as the time of year, that we’re just now entering into the, into the rainy season. And we’re just now getting into the months where that those temperatures really tend to ramp up,” Wittman said.

Warm summer months, along with longer days and nutrients, bring all the right ingredients for a bloom. It’s expected at this time of the year, but if you ask Wittman, it’s a little early for the blooms we’re seeing on Lake Okeechobee and the lake is higher than we want at the start of rainy season. For that, you can blame last year’s hurricanes.

“the lake has a tremendous amount of legacy pollution legacy nutrients in the lake for decades of pollution. And so when you have a big wind event, like a hurricane, it stirs up those nutrients, and the detritus that’s on the bottom of the lake suspends it into the water, and that’s food for algae,” Wittman said.

As always, if you see blue-green algae in the water, don’t go swimming or play in it. Also, keep a close eye on your pets to make sure they don’t drink the water.

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