Water-Related News

FGCU researchers to investigate Lake O-red tide connection

FORT MYERS » Red tide: you can smell it, and see its deadly impact, but what makes some summers worse than others?

“The water here are used to be clear there used to be sea grass there is a boyster now it’s far from that,” said Daniel Andrews, of Captains for Clean Water.

Dr. Bill Mitsch, a wetland ecologist and professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, is on a mission to find out if Lake Okeechobee releases are supercharging red tide conditions.

“This river is sending billions of gallons of Lake O water down stream,” Dr. Mitsch said.

A team of researchers lead by Dr. Mitsch spent the day collecting water samples from the Caloosahatchee River as well as red tide along the coast.

“We want to know if the nitrogen we believe is feeding the frenzy of red tide plus what We will call it red tide plus plus plus if that’s the nitrogen coming out of Lake O,” Dr. Mitsch said.

If his theory is proven correct, Dr. Mitsch believes this will be the concrete evidence needed to finally push lawmakers to solve this puzzle: and that’s to add 100,000 acres of wetlands near Lake Okeechobee to act as a natural filter for the water discharges.