FGCU professor says Caloosahatchee River blue-green algae sample tests positive

Published: February 12, 2019 12:04 AM EST
Updated: February 12, 2019 12:29 AM EST

Green gunk is starting to build up again in the Caloosahatchee River at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam in Alva. WINK News exclusively took a sample to place under an expert’s microscope to generate much-wanted answers. After being tested, an FGCU professor said he knows exactly what the results mean.

Dr. Toshi Urakawa said the tested sample of blue-green algae shows positive for cyanobacteria Monday.

“This is microcystis aruganosa,” Urakawa said. “They are coming back again.”

Microsystis is the microorganism that makes up algae. The individual cells form colonies. In high concentrations, they create the thick, smelly blooms that devastated Southwest Florida in 2018.

These findings have local leaders such as Cape Coral Mayor Joe Coviello scrambling for solution.

“We need to find solutions now that minimize the risk of having these algae come down the river and affect Cape Coral and the coastal communities,” Coviello said.

The city is discussing the implementation of temporary fixes like bubble screens to keep the algae out.

MORE: ‘Bubble curtain’ is latest attempt to prevent algae …

There is no algae visible in local waters presently, but that is likely to change in a few months. The green gunk spotted at the Franklin Lock has no made it down stream, but experts think that could change once the wet season arrives this year.

“If it’s heading this way, I’m not going to be a happy camper,” Peter Formica said.

Formica was hit hard by the algae crisis of 2018. Thick green slime coated his canal all summer and made him sick.

Formica was extremely alarmed when he heard reports last week that algae may be back in the Caloosahatchee River.

“To be honest, I’m not staying here this summer if it’s this bad,” Formica said. “And there will be a “For Sale” sign in the properties I own here in Cape Coral,”