CAPE CORAL, Fla.- If you live in Cape Coral, you have probably noticed thick, green coating on the surface of canals in the city. It's not an algae, but we're learning it is a direct result of the releases from Lake Okeechobee. So is there a solution to clearing it out? If the oxygen in the water is high enough, there is.
"It just ruins everything, it just makes you not even want to put your boat in the water."
It's a common reaction to the sight of the thick, green coat on the surface of the water seen throughout many Cape Coral canals.
"It's disgusting, it ruins the hatcheries and makes my life miserable as I am trying to fish," said resident Nick Leckel.
It's called "Duckweed" and it's tiny plant pieces and once they enter into canals they grow.
"What makes the Duckweed grow so good is the nitrogen. In the river is a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus and that's what's making it grow so much," said John Cassani Deputy Director with the Lee County Hyacinth Control District.
But there is a way to battle it, they need help from natural and human sources. They need a strong wind, coupled with fewer releases from Lake Okeechobee, that brings the oxygen level in the water up, so then it could treated.
"We use an aquatic herbicide product that's labeled specifically for that type of plant and these situations, but it usually takes a day or two for it to die," said Cassani.
The Lee County Hyacinth Control District will test the water before they can begin treatment to get rid of the green coat.
"We are kind of a Band-Aid way of treating the problem and we need to get to the root of the problem because to much water is being released from the lake right now."
The oxygen levels are too low in most of the canals for this Duckweed to be treated. This is not harmful to humans, but can pose an environmental risk as it breaks down.