Charlotte County responds to Boca Beacon letter

On July 31 the Boca Beacon sent emails to all Lee and Charlotte County commissioners, requesting that detailed water analyses be reported to the public regarding the water quality of Charlotte Harbor, the Myakka River and the Peace River at their confluence with the Harbor, Buck Creek, Gasparilla Sound, Lemon Bay, Little Gasparilla Island Pass, the Intracoastal Waterway, Oyster Creek, Coral Creek, Boggess Hole Outflow, Catfish Creek and Whidden Creek.

In Lee County, Boca Grande Pass water. The letter also requested fish kill numbers to date from this recent red tide bloom, and what their intentions were to clean up dead fish in local waterways.

This is the response from Charlotte County:

In response to your recent inquiry regarding red tide, Charlotte County is well aware of the recent red tide outbreak and has been working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to track the severity of the bloom and provide public notices as warranted. Charlotte County staff have regularly cleared fish from Englewood Beach on Manasota Key and coordinated additional solid waste collections on the island to assist local residents with their cleanup efforts on private beaches.

As for test results, all red tide testing is performed by the FWC, so please contact them at (866) 300-9399 regarding the test data you referenced. Water testing in other areas you mentioned is performed by other entities, such as the Florida Department of Health and the University of South Florida (Florida Water Atlas) in partnerhsip with the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program. The latter do not specifically test for red tide, but do test for bacteria and nutrients.

FWC collects red tide data from the following locations: Englewood Beach, Cape Haze Marina, Lear Road canal, Oberon Road canal, West Bay Heights Road, Boca Grande Pier, Don Quixote Drive, Vivante Boulevard, Placida Park Boat Ramp, Bay Point Drive, Ainger Creek Park Boat Ramp, Hog Island, Gasparilla Pass, Boca Grande Pass, Cayo Pelau, Tom Adams Bridge, Garfield Court (Placida Harbor), Catfish Creek, Sandfly Key, Bull Key, Blind Pass Beach (Lemon Bay side), Stump Pass. (Note: Not all locations are in Charlotte County.)

Charlotte County has been providing information to the media and the general public regarding red tide through its Public Information Office, Commission and Administration offices, Tourism Bureau and the county smartphone app since the beginning of the recent outbreak.

Charlotte County also refers inquiries about red tide to the FWC and Mote Marine Laboratory’s beach condition reporting site, www.visitbeaches.org. The FWC has been posting continuous updates on red tide throughout the recent outbreak. Visit MyFWC.com/redtidestatus or call 866-300-9399 to view the latest information. The FWC has also been posting updates and useful information about red tide to a Facebook page, Facebook.com/FLHABs.

Brian Gleason
Communications Manager
Charlotte County Board of County
Commissioners