Newsletter September 2022
Toxic Algal Bloom Becoming a Possible Health Concern for North Fort Myers Residents
Cyanobacteria has taken over the canals of Waterway Estates in North Fort Myers, a canal system along the Caloosahatchee. Photos taken show huge, green mats of bad-smelling blue-green algae, and now scientists are concerned it could be harmful to breathe for people living nearby.
Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani, was alarmed when he saw the water and decided to take a sample. "When it starts to form the surface scum, that’s when it gets pretty significant, it’s gonna be around for a while,” Cassani said.
He and other scientists are worried that because you can smell the bloom, it could mean that the deadly toxins produced by Cyanobacteria are making their way into the air. “One of the things that concern us in inhalation toxicity, if you can smell it, you are inhaling the aerosolized particles,” he said. This could pose a serious health risk to the people who live nearby.
Words from the Waterkeeper – Episode 36
Captain Codty Pierce shares his observations on Matlacha Pass water quality. Matlacha Pass is a State Aquatic Persevere and designated an Outstanding Florida Water (OFW), but it is also verified impaired for nutrients, fecal bacteria in shellfish, and more.
Don't miss an episode of Words From the Waterkeeper - follow or subscribe on your favorite platform.
Calusa Waterkeeper Welcomes Julie Althaver to the Team
Julie's wealth of experience in cultivating meaningful donor relationships, orchestrating fundraising events, securing major gifts, and writing compelling grant and fundraising proposals make her the perfect choice to lead and expand CWK's fundraising efforts into the future.
"I'm excited and honored to join the Calusa Waterkeeper community. I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, team members, donors, and Rangers to advance the organization's mission to protect and restore the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the coastal waters," she said.
"After much diligence, our search was rewarded with someone who not only brings a wealth of experience, but a strong passion for our mission," said CWK president, Jim Watkins. "We think Julie is the perfect match and welcome her to the Calusa Waterkeeper team to lead our fundraising efforts."
Update on Blue-Green Algae in Little Lake Michigan Canal
The blue-green algae in the Little Lake Michigan Canal appears to have been broken up by the recent heavy rain. Just because it is no longer visible on the surface, experts say that doesn’t mean that it’s gone. Watch Now
Study Shows Red Tide Exposure can Cause Neurological Woes
A new study by Sarasota’s Roskamp Institute shows breathing red tide toxins can cause neurological problems. More than 250 volunteers from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Sarasota and Manatee counties helped with the Roskamp study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Harmful Algae. Learn More
Lake O' is at Dry Season Levels During Peak Rainy Season
Lake Okeechobee levels are low with only six weeks left in the rainy season, a scenario that could put seagrasses, oysters and marine critters that rely on the Caloosahatchee estuary in trouble. See Why
Local Algae Bloom Task Force Provides Area Waters Update
Waterkeeper Ranger Sue Dahod, facilitator of the Pine Island Algae Bloom Task Force, provided an update on the condition of the water in Matlacha. She and Waterkeeper John Cassani took a water sample and identified it primarily as Blue-Green Algae and was positive for low levels of Saxitoxin.
ECCL to Hold Public Forum on Water Quality & Environment
WHO: Estero Council of Community Leaders
WHAT: Townhall-style Public Forum
WHERE: The Water School at FGCU
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m.
Join Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani and an expert panel as they discuss environmental issues facing Southwest Florida and the Greater Estero area. The discussion will focus on current & future threats to our community’s environment, scientific information on the causes of these threats, and specific initiatives to reduce the negative impacts on water quality.
CWK will be monitoring the air for aerosolized toxins associated with recent cyanobacteria blooms. We use a specialized air sampling device designed by Dr. Manny Aparicio, a member of the CWK Board. Samples are analyzed by the Brain Chemistry Labs.
Widespread phytoplankton activity in nearshore Gulf near Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel. Photos by Ralph Arwood 9-6-22.
Local utilities need to do a better job of removing pollutants from wastewater as just one approach to reducing harmful algal blooms.
This is a first time we can recall that FDEP closed a beach due to a water quality issues. We have learned that FDOH does not have the authority to close a beach, only to issue an advisory. We are wondering why the Bonita Beach Park beach was not closed recently when fecal bacteria levels exceeded the FDOH threshold. Could it have been due to someone contracting Vibrio? FDEP isn't saying.
Support Our Air & Water Testing
Knowing what is in our water and air is imperative to protecting Floridians, and that is our top priority! Your tax-deductible donations make our sampling programs possible.
CALUSA WATERKEEPER MISSION
To Protect and Restore the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the Coastal Waters.
FOLLOW CALUSA WATERKEEPER
PO Box 1165
Fort Myers, FL 33902