Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Environment

Red Tide is back in southwest Florida

A year after a 14-month toxic algae bloom plagued Florida, a new one erupts
Red Tide caused dead fish to wash on to Pinellas County beaches last fall. A new outbreak has been reported in Collier County in southwest Florida. [MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times]
Published Oct. 4

For 14 months, a Red Tide toxic algae bloom plagued Florida, killing thousands of fish and other marine creatures, chasing away tourists and harming the economy of coastal towns. Finally it faded away in February.

Now Red Tide is back along the state’s southwestern coast, according to scientists at St. Petersburg’s Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Instituate.

The biologists at the state’s marine science laboratory reported Friday that the samples they took from the waters of Collier County found “background to high concentrations” of the algae, and there were multiple reports of fish kills.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Red Tide bloom now touching all three coasts.

The last big Red Tide bloom started the same way in November 2017, and at its peak last fall it was touching all three of the state’s coasts -- the Panhandle, the southern gulf coast and the Atlantic coast.

A contractor delivered an empty dumpster and prepared to haul away one of two others filled with tons of dead fish killed by Red Tide last fall. Tens of thousands of dead fish and crustaceans washed up on Madeira Beach last year. [LUIS SANTANA | Times] ["LUIS SANTANA | TIMES" | Tampa Bay Times]

Small, scattered colonies of microscopic Red Tide algae live in the Gulf of Mexico all year long. Usually their numbers are so tiny that no one notices. But every now and then, usually in the late summer or fall, the algae population 10 to 40 miles offshore explodes into something called a bloom.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Your questions answered on Red Tide’s toxic toll.

During a bloom the algae multiply rapidly and spread across the water’s surface, staining it a rusty color that gives the phenomenon its name. Then winds and currents carry it toward shore, where it can be fed and prolonged by pollution from fertilizer, sewage spills and leaky septic tanks.

The 14-month Red Tide bloom was the longest lasting Red Tide this decade. The longest on record lasted for 17 months from 2004 to 2006.

At this point it is hard to predict how long this bloom will last or where the bloom will go next. State scientists say that over the next four days, they expect “net northwestern transport of surface waters and southeastern net movement of subsurface waters in most areas.” Their next report is due next Friday.




ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. St. Petersburg's single-use plastic straw ban kicks in starting Jan. 1, 2020. BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Times
    The City Council on Thursday is set to adopt some tweaks to the ordinance, including making all straws by-request-only.
  2. One of a pair of orphaned panther kittens is being examined by the staff at ZooTampa. The pair, named Pepper and Cypress, so far have shown no signs of the ailment that led to their mother's death, zoo officials said. Courtesy of ZooTampa
    The mother had to be euthanized because a mysterious ailment left her unable to walk.
  3. Flood-elevation requirements for permanent Florida Keys homes could mean local ‘tiny homes’ wind up with more square footage than most of the diminutive domiciles. Courtesy of Bayview Homes
    “We cannot keep building the way we always have and expect a different outcome in future disasters.”
  4. A special garbage truck services an Underground Refuse System bin in Kissimmee. Clearwater recently bought six bins and a truck to service them, and will install the receptacles at the city's world-famous beach. City of Kissimmee
    “You don’t get to be the number one beach in America without taking care of business like this.”
  5. Archaeologist Terry Barbour excavates a bead-making site on Raleigh Island in the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Barbour's team then used a drone with radar to map the entire village of 37 ring-shaped piles of oyster shells where ancient dwellers made beads out of shells. PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNETH E. SASSAMAN  |  Photo courtesy of Kenneth E. Sas
    Scientists stumbled on the site while assessing BP oil spill effects in 2010
  6. Eckerd College President Donald R. Eastman III signed a pledge Tuesday that will prohibit the purchase of most nonessential single-use plastics using college funds, an initiative spearheaded by Eckerd College's Reduce Single-Use two-year research project funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. Eckerd College
    The retiring president signs a pledge to continue that initiative once the funding expires.
  7. This sinkhole opened up in September 2016 underneath a gypsum stack at a Mosaic phosphate fertilizer plant in Mulberry, leaking 215 million gallons of contaminated water into the aquifer.
    The panel rejected environmental groups’ challenge of a permit that would allow mining on 50,000 acres.
  8. An estimated 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.
    230 Florida panthers are estimated to remain in the wild.
  9. A manatee swims in the discharge canal next to the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
    When the waters of Tampa Bay begin to cool, hundreds of sea cows will seek warmth around Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station.
  10. Buchanan Street near A1A in Hollywood flooded in late September of this year due to king tides. [Taimy Alvarez | South Florida Sun Sentinel] TAIMY ALVAREZ  |  South Florida Sun Sentinel
    Even as saltwater swallows their streets, they find a way to carry on as though nothing is out of the ordinary.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement