Originally published by The News-Press on June 25, 2021 by Amy Bennett Williams

As dead fish float atop mats of putrefying algae in Pine Island-area canals, some residents with a common set of symptoms have fled to the mainland. Others have sold out and left for good.

So far, state and local government and public health officials have remained silent, with no warnings issued, outreach organized or press conferences called. “Natural Resources staff is in communication with partnering entities and continues to monitor the situation in the Matlacha canals,” Lee County spokeswoman Betsy Clayton wrote in an email.

Instead, area nonprofits like Calusa Waterkeeper and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation are stepping up to test water and try to educate the public about what’s happening to it.

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