Caloosahatchee sample tests positive for blue-green algae

Is blue-green algae really back?

On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the Caloosahatchee that appeared to contain the green, gunky substance.

So we set out to get to the bottom of it.

The nasty, green swirls were near the Davis Boat Ramp in Fort Myers Shores this week.

We took a sample and gave it to researchers.

Ken Spalding splits his time between Southwest Florida and Minnesota.

“I can fish 12 months of the year, yeah, so I can fish up there in the wintertime, but it’s sort of cold this time of year…So this is a lot nicer,” he said.

And while he may not live here full time, word about water quality concerns travels fast.

“It’s advertised all the way to Minnesota when you’ve got red tide or the blue algae. They even report it up in Minnesota,” Spalding said.

While people spotted blue-green algae at the Davis Boat Ramp in Lee County earlier this week, it looked different come early Thursday afternoon.

“Yeah they do move around, they float up and down, they’re buoyant, they can regulate their buoyancy,” said Dr. Barry Rosen, a professor at the Water School at FGCU.

We took a sample of the water Thursday for Rosen to test. It turns out, he found four different types of cyanobacteria just from our sample.

“I would say yes, I’d be careful because the microcystis makes microcystin, but some of those other compounds are more deadly than microcystin,” he said.

Although blue-green algae can move around, the Florida Department of Health in Lee County isn’t taking any chances; posting signs at the Davis Boat Ramp. The DOH asked the US Army Corps of Engineers to do the same at the Franklin Locks.

“You never know down here what’s going to happen from one day to the next,” Spalding said. “You hope it won’t and that’s all you can pray for.”

According to a Caloosahatchee and estuary report from earlier this week, it’s recommended the Caloosahatchee receive additional water from Lake Okeechobee to help with salinity levels.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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