Toxic Algae Blooms, Red Tide, and the Need for a Permanent Solution
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.