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Tropical Storm Gordon's Impact on Red Tide, Blue-Green Algae

Tropical Storm Gordon's Impact on Red Tide, Blue-Green Algae
Tropical Storm Gordon came and went. One thing we all want is for this red tide and blue-green algae to make its way out of here, too.
2:31 PM, Sep 05, 2018

Contributors

Michael Adam Mora

Tropical Storm Gordon came and went.

One thing we all want is for this red tide and blue-green algae to make its way out of here, too.

"Anything that helps move the water helps us because it's not sitting in front of my restaurant anymore," Randy Strohman said, referring to Tropical Storm Gordon. He is a front house manager at Three Fishermen Seafood Restaurant in Downtown Fort Myers.

Strohman's main impediment to his business is in the middle of the day when the tide becomes calm and the blue-green algae settle. It ruins the view of the water for patrons who have lunch at the waterfront restaurant.

He hopes that Tropical Storm Gordon has a more lasting effect because light storms in SWFL only have a temporary impact on the dissolution of red tide and blue-green algae.

The reality is SWFL beaches still stink. There is an increasing amount of dead fish pilling up on shore.

But does a hurricane or a tropical storm affect how long algae sticks around?

Anytime you get a tropical storm, it has the potential to disrupt things, Dr. Greg Tolley said, who is a professor of marine science at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“It may disrupt the red tide for a couple of days,” Dr. Tolley said. “Only when you get a lot of winds is when you can affect red tide and you just didn’t see that with Gordon.”

So, would it take a hurricane to get rid of red tide ?

“The winds might push the storm offshore, they might break up the red tide a little bit, but the rains the hurricanes bring and tropical storms bring also bring nutrients with them as well,” Dr. Tolley said.

Red tide feeds off different nutrients. So runoff from waterways and estuaries could feed into it as well.

“One of the big questions we have is whether or not the nutrients that come in from our rivers are keeping red tides around longer,” Dr. Tolley said.

However, the red tide season hasn’t even officially started, so the battle could be far from over.

“It may not be over yet," Dr. Tolley said. University of South Florida "is predicting that it may get worse before it gets better."

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