LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Something is rotten in the area of Bunche Beach, and while it is related to algae, parks officials say it is not harmful — just unpleasant.
Red drift algae deposits are washing up along the shorelines, and as they decompose, they give off a foul smell.
Lee County Parks and Recreation says that red drift algae are otherwise not harmful and non-toxic, and can make an appearance at any time of the year.
In a statement, Betsy Clayton of the Parks & Recreation Department explains:
Bunche Beach is a preserve – not a typical beach park. Wildlife are a priority at our preserves. Red drift algae is a natural occurrence. In fact, at several of our beach preserves, we have informational signs that explain the environmental benefits of red drift algae for animals such as shorebirds.
The organisms are large enough to be seen with the naked eye individually, setting them further apart from red tide algae, which can only be seen when enough of the microscopic organisms bloom together.
Red tide algae, meanwhile, are extremely toxic to humans, pets, and other aquatic organisms.
Learn more about the differences between the two classifications of algae by clicking here.
Parks officials say they continue to monitor the level of red drift algae washing up in the area.