FGCU opens water school

Published: November 18, 2022 6:29 PM EST
Updated: November 19, 2022 7:59 PM EST

Florida Gulf Coast University’s water school held its official opening on Friday.

The water school opened its doors to students in August, but Friday was a day to celebrate a new facility and the important things that will happen there.

As the major research institution into Southwest Florida’s water opens, the big water topic on residents’ minds is red tide.

Ribbon cutting at FGCU water school. CREDIT: WINK News

Blooms have formed along the SWFL coast from Sarasota down to Marco Island.

And these blooms are bringing fish kills along with them.

Dr. Mike Parsons, with FGCU’s water school, compares the intense red tide blooms of 2018 to this one.

The flume room at the water school at FGCU. CREDIT: WINK News

Parsons explained the recent blooms started just like the others, in early October between Sarasota and Venice.

“It’s acting like a typical year. What went a little haywire with Irma was that it spread and got bigger, that lasted a really long time,” Parsons said. “And we think a couple of red tides actually moved in from offshore that made it so intense and lasting so long. Who knows what’s going to happen with this red tide? We do know there are more nutrients in the system because of all the runoff and everything being turned up by Ian.”

The real question that scientists need answers to is, how will more nutrients play out in terms of making red tide worse or longer?