Water-Related News

Blue-green algae lessening in Caloosahatchee River

The Florida Department of Health in Lee County has canceled five health warnings due to harmful algal blooms in Southwest Florida that have been in effect all summer from the upper Caloosahatchee to the lower, warning of the presence of blue-green algae outbreaks throughout.

It is a reversal of the trend of one-after-another red tide or blue-green algae outbreaks off Southwest Florida since the days after Hurricane Ian in late September 2023.

“It is important that the public exercise caution and good judgment,” the health department said in a press release. “Blue-green algae blooms can move around or subside and then reappear when conditions are favorable again. Residents and visitors are advised to avoid contact with the water if blooms are observed.”

Blue-green algae, scientifically known as cyanobacteria, are minuscule organisms that inhabit freshwater bodies across the nation. These organisms, a natural part of aquatic ecosystems, hold the potential for beauty but also for peril when they overstay their ecological welcome and become slimy, smelly leftovers.

The toxins in blue-green algae can cause liver problems in humans, can kill a family pet like a dog, and sicken anyone who goes swimming in waters with cyanobacteria, especially small children and those with compromised respiratory systems.