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Water quality worsening as red tide blooms after Ian and Nicole

Posted at 1:38 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 13:38:51-05

SANIBEL, Fla. — According to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, water quality around Sanibel Island is worsening after Hurricane Ian and Tropical Storm Nicole.

SCCF said red tide is blooming in very high concentrations in the area, causing large fish kills and extreme respiratory irritation.

Red tide began blooming after Hurricane Ian due to high levels of nutrients from offshore, and from flooding and rainfall. Winds from Nicole pushed the blooms onshore.

Nicole also pushed large amounts of red seaweed onshore. Red seaweed, while not toxic, can worsen red tide conditions.

SCCF also noted that no water releases from Lake Okeechobee have been made since Tropical Storm Nicole. Nutrients from Okeechobee are also known to worsen red tide conditions.

The U.S. Army Corp plans to resume water releases from Okeechobee tomorrow, November 19. SCCF has requested that they keep releases limited to the Caloosahatchee Estuary while the bloom is active.