Algae blooming in Cape Coral canal, but is it dangerous?

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Algae are building on at least one Cape Coral canal, and it’s an unpleasant sight for people living near Country Club Boulevard in Southwest Florida’s largest city.

Mark Pokorney bought his Cape Coral home 12 years ago.

“I love the ocean and love the gulf,” said Pokorney.

While he said even the recent heat is much nicer than the snow, the thick green algae growing in the canal near his Cape Coral home wasn’t part of his waterfront dream.

“It makes me hesitant to go on the water. It’s an eyesore,” said Pokorney. “It’s surprising how fast it grew. It went from just a little haze on top of the water to a thick mat within a week.”

The widespread algae go across the Cape Coral canal that runs off Country Club Blvd., but it is doing more than merely floating on the surface.

“It goes down six or seven inches, and it’s a thick carpet,” said Pokorney.

Pokorney told WINK News that he uses a stick to break up the algae just so he can get his boat out.

WINK News took a sample of the algae from the canal in Cape Canal to Rick Bartleson from the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. The good news is despite Bartleson seeing some cyanobacteria, also known as Blue-Green Algae, it’s almost entirely a filamentous, or string-like, green algae.

“It’s basically not harmful as far as that it isn’t—they don’t produce toxins,” said Bartleson.

Although the potentially dangerous part could come when the mess decomposes, it’s possible the algae may produce hydrogen sulfide. In low amounts, hydrogen sulfide can cause breathing problems.

As far as what you can do, removing it from the Cape Coral canal, as Pokorney did, isn’t a bad idea.

“Because then you can know where it’s decomposing,” said Bartleson.

Bartleson wants to remind everyone to watch what nutrients they contribute and how that could enable algae to grow. That means keeping grass clippings out of the water, follow fertilizer ordinances and picking up after your pet.

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