Water-Related News

Scientists sound early alarm on stringy algae

If mats of floating, stringy algae are any indication, Charlotte Harbor may have a pollution problem, local scientists believe.

Charlotte Harbor is listed as one of the state’s cleaner water bodies and certainly one of its best looking with its preserved mangrove fringes, said environmental scientist Dave Blewett of the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission to a local advisory committee last week.

But Blewett warned the Beaches and Shores Advisory Committee, “Our sea grass and visual buffers give a false sense of security.”

Filamentous algae is not as noxious as blue green algae, also called cyanobacteria, or red tide, called Karenia brevis. Those two scourges are micro algae and plagued Florida’s coastlines in recent years. In 2018, the twin attacks drove out coastal and riverside homeowners and threatened property values in the state’s elite locations.

Both red tide and blue green algae are also associated with serious health effects. Filamentous algae is not considered a health hazard, Florida Sea Grant Agent Betty Staugler told the Sun, although it can smell bad.