Harmful blue-green algal blooms detected at Jaycee Park

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A health alert you need to be aware about.

If you like to go for a morning walk at Jaycee Park, use caution. Harmful blue-green algae toxins were detected in the Caloosahatchee River.

Blue-green algae happens every year. It typically rears its ugly head during the warmer months, and how bad it gets is dependent on many variables.

If you have respiratory issues or sensitivity, you could experience irritation.

For some people, blue-green algae causes rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting. High exposures of toxins can even affect the liver and nervous system.

At Jaycee Park in Cape Coral, the city has left health alert signs warning people of the presence of blue-green algae, which has the potential to produce toxins.

Cape Coral has an ordinance banning nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers from June 1st to September 30th.

That’s because those nutrient dense fertilizers get into the waterways and impact nutrients in the water.

Some other factors are pet waste, septic tank overflows and yard waste such as grass clippings.

“It’s probably gonna get worse before it gets better,” said Professor Barry Rosen from the Water School at FCCU. “Because you have more rainfall, more nutrients flowing in. It isn’t getting colder that I know. So they’re gonna keep thriving.”

Cape Coral has ten bubble filters on Caloosahatchee fed into canals to try and help mitigate the algae that makes it way into the city’s canals.

The city of Cape Coral spoke with us this week to discuss the algae problem.

Cape Coral environmental Resource Manager Maya Robert says maintaining the waterways is everyone’s responsibility.

“There has been multiple report and sightings of blue green algae along the Caloosahatchee River and estuary,” Robert said. “So people should be aware. So blue green algae is present naturally in water bodies. And so any sort of nutrients can fuel the algae that’s already present or that has been brought from upstream.”

Even if you don’t live on the water, we are all connected by the water.

What you use on your lawn will eventually make its way into the water, so make sure you are mindful of what you’re using to fertilize.

If you do come into contact with blue-green algae, do not ingest it.

You should not drink, swim, or go in the water where there is a visible bloom. Wash your skin with soap if you come in contact with algae. Avoid getting it in your eyes, nose, or mouth and keep your pets and kids away from the area.

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