Gulf Coast Live

Mote Marine Laboratory

A persistent red tide bloom has been plaguing Southwest Florida’s Gulf coast since the fall of 2017, with reports of fish kills and beachgoers experiencing respiratory irritation from exposure to the toxic algae.  To date, there has been no proven way to eliminate red tide, particularly in large areas, without causing harm to the natural ecosystem. 

WGCU / Mike Kiniry

Sports are far more than just games -- that’s the underlying principle behind a new exhibit on display at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers called Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America. The Smithsonian Institution travelling exhibit explores the many ways sports, from pick up games to national championships, have connected people and communities, and have become a fundamental part of our culture.


One of the biggest draws to our area is the beaches, but when red tide is blooming off the coast, dead and injured animals wash ashore, and people who get a whiff of the airborne algae can have respiratory issues. Red tide can cause some birds to look drunk, while sea turtles can become basically incapacitated. While researchers busy themselves with trying to figure out what causes red tide, or what could help get rid of it, we’re sitting down with a person whose focus is on what the stuff does to animals and people. Heather Barron is the Hospital Director at CROW on Sanibel, where been busy rehabbing animals during the recent bloom.


Tom James -

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County recently issued a health advisory for the Alva Boat Ramp, Davis Boat Ramp, and Franklin Locks after water sampling found the presence of Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, which can cause gastrointestinal effects if swallowed. The large algae bloom was first reported in the area about two weeks ago, about two weeks after the first high volume releases of nutrient-rich freshwater began flowing out of Lake Okeechobee. The algae bloom continues moving west toward Fort Myers, and the estuaries. At the same time, a large red tide bloom persists off the coast, with numerous reports of dead fish and other marine wildlife. This kind of news has become an annual trend in southwest Florida, as water managers work to keep the water level in Lake Okeechobee at safe levels.

We’re joined by three men who are advocates for finding solutions to this perennial issue. John Cassani with Calusa Waterkeeper, Chris Wittman with Captains for Clean Water, and Peter Girard with Bullsugar, a non-profit started in 2014 in Stuart, Florida that focuses its message on the need to acquire land from sugar farmers south of the lake in order to store, and clean more water before sending it along to Florida Bay.


Courtesy of ACMA

The Americana Community Music Association holds its 6th Anniversary Concert this Saturday at All Faiths Unitarian Congregation in Fort Myers.  The non-profit brings together professional touring artists, local singer/songwriters and fans of the Americana/Folk/Roots music community for performances in a respectful, intimate setting.  The association’s Sunday songwriter circles also provide a supportive venue for songwriters to present new songs and foster their own creativity.