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NOAA to perform more tests on Matlacha Pass after recent findings show low oxygen

Posted at 6:05 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 06:56:40-04

MATLACHA, Fla. — Crews with NOAA will be in Matlacha today to do more tests to the water.

It's because of a fish kill last week. The first round of FWC tests showed the fish likely died because of low oxygen levels in the water. The FWC says that is likely due to freshwater discharges north of Matlacha.

This has happened just about every year, recently. We get a lot of rain and it washes thru the canals and into Matlacha Pass. Drone footage that we captured shows a trail of dead fish, stretching a good way across the pass.

In the past, there was a lock system that would force this water thru the mangroves creating a natural filter. Without it, the water goes directly into Matlacha and mixes with the saltwater.

That leads to these fish kills which is bad for local business owners like Casey Streeter, fishing captain and Seafood Market Owner, who we spoke to last week about the situation. We followed up with Streeter after learning about the low-dissolved oxygen levels in the water.

“I’m not surprised by the readings that they found and what the tests actually showed," says Streeter. "We knew there was no algae bloom happening that we could see. Obviously, this is freshwater discharge coming out of the canals from the northwest.”

Streeter went on to say how it hurts him to see the fish being killed. He also said this is the type of water that contributes to a red tide event.

Battling it now will help prevent such an event from happening in the future.