Water-Related News

Fort Myers Beach struck with sea grass, fish kill

Signs of the ongoing water quality state of emergency are washing up on Fort Myers Beach's shores.

The beach is inundated with sea grasses, dead fish and drift algae today. Sea grass serves an important role in the estuarine system, providing food for animals like manatees and also serving as home and safe zones for fish nurseries. But the grasses are dying and washing up on the beach - a sign of the imbalance of salinity in the estuary, said Rae Burns, Town of Fort Myers Beach environmental technician. "We want our sea grasses in the sea grass beds, protecting our fish," she said.

The grasses need a mix of salt water and fresh water to thrive; too much of either is detrimental. With the past 14 days of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee, that mix has been thrown out of balance.

It's not just sea grasses - dead fish are here now, too.

Red tide has been concentrated in northern Lee County for weeks, but the bloom has shown its consequences now on Fort Myers Beach.