■ STAFF REPORT
Lee County has hired its debris-removal contractor to supplement efforts currently underway by Parks & Recreation employees to clean county beaches affected by the recent red tide fish kill.
Crowder Gulf will begin Thursday morning, concentrating first along county parks and beach accesses on the Sanibel Causeway, Lynn Hall Park to Bowditch Point (on Fort Myers Beach) and Boca Grande.
“Lee County is actively working to clean up the debris along our beaches as a result of the recent red tide bloom,” said Cecil Pendergrass, who is chairman of the Lee Board of County Commissioners and the Tourist Development Council. “I will continue to strongly advocate for water quality improvements by working with our state and federal agencies, pushing for action.”
Parks & Recreation crews now are cleaning parks and boat ramps of the larger fish (not pinfish) each morning. Crowder Gulf will be supplementing those efforts and also is under contract by the Town of Fort Myers Beach and City of Sanibel.
The County will focus on the most affected county parks and accesses. The County also urges property owners adjacent to beaches to clean their immediate areas and is working on a plan to place dumpsters in key locations where residents can dispose of these fish. People may also pick up fish immediate to their homes and businesses and place them in their normal waste stream by double-bagging them and placing them in their regular trash receptacles, but understand that the hauler will not be able to make additional collections outside of regularly scheduled collection days. The dumpster for Gasparilla Island will be at the 7th Street beach access.
Red tide is a naturally occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs nearly every year. Blooms, or higher-than-normal concentrations, happen periodically. Blooms typically occur miles offshore and are carried to the shore by winds and currents.
Red tide is a different organism than blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) that have recently bloomed in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie river basins.
For more information on red tide statewide, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission site here: http://myfwc.com/redtidestatus.