Water-Related News

Lee County legislators ask Gov. Rick Scott to declare state of emergency because of algae problem

As a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the Caloosahatchee River floats into its second putrid week, state legislators representing Lee County have asked Gov. Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency because of the threat it and a persistent red tide bloom pose to the area's economy and waterways.

The letter, sent Thursday, said:

"A state of emergency would effectuate a swift and efficient state response to the imminent dangers of the bluegreen algae threat to Lee County by identifying available funds state agencies could use to respond to this threat. Additionally, we ask that you continue to request the water management districts explore and pursue all options that will reduce discharges, including storage north, east, west, and south of Lake Okeechobee."

The letter was signed by state representatives Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, Matt Caldwell, R- North Fort Myers, Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, and state senators Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, Kahtleen Passidomo, R-Naples and Denise Grimsley, R-Lake Placid.

In 2016, when a similar bloom plagued the southern part of the state, the governor declared an emergency that helped facilitate loans for 54 businesses statewide claiming harm. Twelve were in Lee County.