Authorities ask swimmers to avoid algal blooms in Fort Lauderdale

Himmarshee Canal could be affecting annual algal blooms, city says


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – While areas of northwest and southwest Florida have been dealing with a toxic algae bloom outbreak that is killing marine life, Fort Lauderdale residents are reporting algal blooms that state and city officials say are not toxic. Residents want the stinky green goo gone. 

City officials say environmental inspectors are reporting that they are seeing more areas impacted by the algal blooms than in the past and they are asking Fort Lauderdale residents not to swim near the algal blooms or allow pets to drink the untreated water.

"If anything it adversely affects the marine life. It's bad for everybody," Geno Gardiulo, a Fort Lauderdale professional diver, said. 

According to Chaz Adams, a Fort Lauderdale spokesman, a construction project that involves filling in a portion of the west end of the Himmarshee Canal could be causing the release of nutrients that could potentially be contributing to the algal bloom.  

"The algal blooms tested in Fort Lauderdale by FDEP are not toxic," Adams said in a statement.  

In other areas of Florida, researchers are studying two algae bloom toxins -- domoic acid and saxitoxin -- which can cause illness in humans when ingested through infected shellfish.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency investigating the reports, which officials describe as a natural occurrence during the summer due to warmer weather, higher water temperatures and increased nutrients in the waterways.

"The algae appears to be accumulating and becoming thicker during the highest tide when it is pushed to the dead end of the canal where waters are warmer and there is little circulation," Adams said. 

Authorities are encouraging residents to report algal blooms to the FDEP at 855-305-3903 or on their site

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