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LEE COUNTY | What to know about blue-green algae alerts

Blue-Green Algae
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jun 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-21 15:18:46-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is cautioning the public of the presence of blue-green algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River.

Warnings have been issued for the following areas:

  • Franklin Lock (C43 Canal - S79, upstream)
  • North of Loftons Island (North Shore Park)
  • Fort Myers Shores
  • End of Coon Road
  • Hancock Creek, Moody Ramp
  • Paradise Marina
  • Franklin Lock C43 Canal
  • Davis Boat Ramp

Blooms have the potential to produce toxins, and what triggers them to do so remains poorly understood. Since bloom conditions can change at any time, it is important to exercise caution as if the bloom were toxic, even if toxin presence has not yet been confirmed.
Residents and visitors are advised to take the following precautions:

  • You should not drink, swim, wade, water ski or engage in activities that may cause you to come in direct contact with waters where there is a visible bloom.
  • Exercise caution when using personal watercraft or boating, to avoid stirring up or contacting the algae or the affected water.
  • Avoid getting affected water in your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wash your skin and clothing with soap and water if you have contact with algae or discolored or smelly water.
  • You should keep pets and livestock away from the waters in this location.
  • Eating fillets from healthy fish caught in freshwater lakes experiencing blooms is safe. Rinse fish fillets with tap or bottled water, throw out the guts and cook fish well.
  • You should not eat shellfish from this location.

What do I do if I see an algal bloom?

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection collects and analyzes algal bloom samples. To report a bloom to DEP, call the toll-free hotline at 855-305-3903.

To report fish kills, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute at 1-800-636-0511.

Report symptoms from exposure to a harmful algal bloom or any aquatic toxin to the Florida Poison Information Center, call 1-800-222-1222 to speak to a poison specialist immediately.

Contact your veterinarian if you believe your pet has become ill after consuming or having contact with blue-green algae contaminated water.

If you have other health questions or concerns about blue-green algae blooms, please call the Florida Department of Health in Lee County at 239-690-2100.