Marni Retzer, Mayor of Cape Coral, has issued this advisory: "Effective immediately, the Yacht Club beach is closed for swimming until we can follow up further with environmental agencies to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors. We will keep you posted with any updates."
The announcement comes after a week of social media exposure about the blue-green algae that has been floating through Cape Coral waterways. "We saw a lot of it floating around," said a boater. "A lot of it washed up on shore on beaches on the different islands we drove by."
At the Cape Coral Yacht club beach, water appeared dark brown. One beach goer described it looking like root beer. "It looks like root beer. Like we're paddling around in root beer all day," said Storm Jackson. "It's very disgusting actually."
The beach was empty, with the exception of a few beach goers who didn't know it was shut down for swimming. "We use to run to the water to make us feel better," said Amy Gaziano, who grew up in Cape Coral. "This is more brown than I've ever seen before."
For John Heim at the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement, the announcement was needed earlier. "Obviously it's the right thing to do. Maybe a little too late in my opinion, I guess in this case too late is better than never."
He fears if Lake Okeechobee water keeps releasing into the Caloosahatchee, the problem is only going to get worse. "It certainly is a potential for a complete outbreak, very similar to what the east coast is experiencing," Heim said. "I'm not a betting man, but I would almost bet that this will bloom into just what they had over there in the east coast when it comes to the blue part of the green algae."
Heim and others at the SWFL Clean Water Movement want to see Lee County shut down more beaches that they say could be a threat to the public's health. He said the only ay to do that is to keep pressuring our local officials. "I think the public outcry had much to do with it. I think what we're seeing here is the people finally having their voices heard."