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Dead dolphin discovered in FMB

Posted at 10:23 PM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 22:24:39-04

A beach goer discovered a dead dolphin on Fort Myers Beach near the Red Coconut RV park Thursday.

 "We noticed something out in the water, we thought it was a pelican, it wasn't moving, we got closer and thought it was a dolphin or shark," said Sean Dodd, who is visiting from New York.

Dodd used his kayak to bring the creature to shore, where the beach patrol took over.

 "It had been dead for a little bit, they thought maybe it was old age.  It was a mature dolphin, the teeth were worn down."

A necropsy was performed on the dolphin Friday, and officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission say it may be weeks before they know a cause of death.

John Heim with the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement says he won't jump to conclusions on whether water quality caused the dolphin's death.

Last week the Army Corp of Engineers reduced the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee into the gulf, in an effort to reduce pollution.

"To say we've seen a dramatic or any kind of changes, I would say no," said Heim.

The Army Corp said it will keep flows at the current levels for an indefinite period of time. But any evidence that the combination of fresh and salt water is chasing tourists away is hard to find.

The beach is packed with spring breakers, and has been for several weeks, but Heim wonders what will happen once they leave.

"We look at it like, yeah OK, maybe right now the general idea out there is the water looks good, which is incorrect.  That's probably a message of trying to save tourism itself."

Heim is calling on Lee County health officials to expand testing in Gulf waters.  His group is is raising funds to conduct its own testing.