Bubble curtains’ effectiveness towards blue-green algae

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Is the technology that’s tasked with helping keep your canals free of stinky blue-green algae working?

In the last two weeks, the health department has issued alerts for blue-green algae along the Caloosahatchee.

Now, that algae is creeping into Cape Coral canals despite the bubble curtains that were installed there.

It’s hard to compare one year’s bloom to another.

But homeowners who have lived on these canals for years say they’ve watched the blue-green algae grow over the last two weeks, all while the bubble curtains have been on.

But they do believe the blooms would be worse without the curtains.

A barrier of bubbles, there are 10 bubble curtains currently in place in Cape Coral, placed between the Caloosahatchee and canals.

The city says the bubbles help break up the algae and will keep a portion of the blue-green gunk from from infiltrating the waterways.

But homeowners Mike Khory and Anthony Karp will prove that the algae is here.

Khory has lived on the Salamander Canal since 2019.

This waterway in his backyard is “protected” by the bubble curtain at the start of the Plato Canal, over a mile and a half from the Caloosahatchee. He says last year when the curtain wasn’t in place the bloom wasn’t too bad.

“But this year is the worst since I’ve been here,” Khoury said. “I’m not a scientist, you know, bubble curtains to me, they break it up, it still comes in and out with the flow of the tide. And, you know, accumulates on the other side again and does its thing.”

The city of Cape Coral also wants to remind you that algae doesn’t just come from the river: it can form in canal systems due to fertilizer runoff.

​”It started like this last time, and it developed into something that was pretty bad, a full-blown bloom,” Karp said.

A lot closer to the Caloosahatchee, Karp’s backyard canal is less than half a mile from the bubble curtains.

He can’t tell a difference between the awful bloom he saw in 2018 and the bloom he sees today with the bubble method in place. But, he’s happy the city is doing something.

“As far as then experimenting with different technologies, I think it’s a great idea because you have to start someplace,” Karp said. “You have to start somewhere and do something in it. And who knows, you know, maybe this bloom would be a lot worse now than what it would be if we didn’t have the bubble curtain. So everything every little bit helps.”

Khory agrees. He thinks things could be worse without the bubble defense.

“Can you imagine if this was worse? I mean, it’s gonna get worse. But I’m just saying, you know, and it was times over the years, we haven’t been able to open our doors or it’s crazy,” Khoury said.

The city says the curtains are working how they planned. They aren’t on all the time. They are turned on and off depending on the tides to allow the tide to flush out any algae, and they still plan to add more curtains.

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