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Economy could be next victim of the algae crisis in SWFL

Mucky, smelly, green algae are floating all through our waterways and have impacted Southwest Florida for weeks. Now the effects are beginning to trickle down to our housing market.

Neighbors in North Fort Myers are dealing with the new normal this summer.

And as the Army Corps of Engineers resumes discharges from Lake Okeechobee it appears all but certain more trouble is making its way downstream

Realtor Kevin Cloutier runs a real estate company with properties along many of southwest Florida’s waterways. He said, “I would think that it could cut business from 50 to 60 percent.”

Cloutier fears if the discharges don’t stop soon the damage could be irreversible, “I think if it stops now then we should be ok in our industry, the rush of snowbird season. If we don’t, then it could be a bp oil all over again, where people. They just don’t come and buy things.”

Many we spoke to say they’ve already noticed the effects of the algae on their bodies such as eyes and lungs.

And now they’re worried they could start to feel its impacts on the local economy too.

Resident Debbie Copeland is worried, “My husband has always been in the hotel business, and Iknow it’s going to hurt tourist season.”

Many are hoping a solution comes soon, even if temporary.

The federal government is working to approve funding on a $1.4 billion reservoir to store and treat water.

But officials from the South Florida Water Management District say that won’t be completed for 7 to 10 years.

People in Southwest Florida hoping something happens a lot sooner than that.

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