CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Duckweed is coating the tops of Cape Coral canals. Experts say it's growing because of nutrients caused by releases from Lake Okeechobee.
Just weeks ago, WINK News first reported Lee County couldn't do much about the green mess. But now, one change is making it possible for crews to ditch the duckweed.
According to the Lee County Hyacinth Control District, it's most prevalent in canals that line the Caloosahatchee River
Tiny green plants are taking over Cape Coral canals, and turning Lou Simmons' waterfront property into what he jokingly call "a golf course."
"It depends on what time of the day. We could either have a golf course, or we could have a canal. I'll take the canal any day," he said.
Simmons says the plants, which thrive in freshwater, started growing in full force when the releases started. "When the wind blows of the east or northeast, the whole canal, the whole system gets full of it," Simmons said.
Kevin Watts with Lee County Hyacinth Control District says the county is only able to spray and kill duckweed when there's a certain amount of oxygen in the water.
A few weeks ago, the oxygen levels were so low they couldn't do much about it. But now, "We've had some progress here recently," he said.
They're able to treat more cases thanks to a slow-down of Lake Okeechobee releases. "Basically with the decline of the major portion of the freshwater releases here from Lake Okeechobee," he said.
As for Simmons, he'll try to cope with his new "golf course". "There's hope for the future. Maybe get someone in congress to listen to us," he said. "We pay taxes. we don't expect to pay taxes for a green mess, which this stuff is."
As they continue to treat canals, Watts is hopeful the duckweed will leave the canals by the winter, when salinity returns to the water.