Red tide continues to rip through Southwest Florida waterways

LEE COUNTY, Florida – Red tide continues to move through Southwest Florida waterways. Some areas are not feeling the full effect, although many beaches are seeing traces of the bloom.

“It’s quite dynamic where it’s going,” said John Cassani with Calusa Waterkeeper.

The non-profit organization aims to protect waterways and track any harmful bacteria, such as red tide. He says the algae is spread over at least 1,000 square miles in southwest Florida.

“It’s out there in different densities,” he said. “It’s going up to medium, high levels now.”

According to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, a water sample from this week shows average red tide levels in this week’s report. 473,000 cells/liters were found. In a chart on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation website, anything between 100,000 and 1,000,000 is considered medium.

Harmful red tide algae bloom crawling along the gulf coast.

This can lead to respiratory tract irritation, shellfish harvest closures, fish kills, and detection of surface chlorophyll by satellites.

“Bunche Beach would have a high enough salinity to support Karenia (red tide),” Cassani said. “The systemic effects of the lingering red tide following the devastation from Hurricane Ian are truly a nightmarish consideration.”

Cassani doesn’t see a short-term solution to easing the red tide for several reasons, including the extent of it already here.

“The flower moves with the wind, the current, the tide,” he said.

He says there could be long-term mitigation efforts.

“A paradigm is to think globally and act locally,” Cassani explained. “Reduce your energy footprint, reduce your consumption footprint.”

For now, he says we’ll have to get by.

“Looks like it’s going to be here for a while,” Cassani said.

Red tide creeping south along the Gulf Coast

Red Tide Blooms in the SWFL

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