Brown algae recedes, waters clear at Anna Maria Island
Local waters were a sparkling blue turquoise May 23 as beachgoers frolicked in the Gulf of Mexico.
At Robinson Preserve, kayakers made their way though mangroves and, on Palma Sola Bay, buzzing personal watercraft interrupted the afternoon naps.
Waters continued to clear around Anna Maria Island after a short-lived batch of “gumbo” brown algae invaded the bayfront in April and May. The lumps of filamentous cyanobacteria the Florida Department of Environmental Protection identified as Lyngbya wollei still appeared in spots but, for the most part, had dissipated or dropped to the bay bottom.
Also, the rotten egg odor that had hung over Kingfish Boat Ramp and other areas was gone.
Testing May 20 by the DEP found the algae in small quantities at Palma Sola Bay and in Holmes Beach, but no toxins were found and, the online DEP sampling map said, “No blooms observed.”
Samples taken May 9 on the north end of Anna Maria showed similar results. No further testing has occurred in Anna Maria.
The DEP website pointed out the thick matted algae is not the same as the blue-green cyanabacteria that fouled Lake Okeechobee and south Florida rivers last summers.
Though no toxins were associated with the “gumbo,” officials continue to recommend people stay out of water containing brown algae. The DEP cited possible rash or skin irritations on contacting the bloom.
To follow locations of Florida HABs — harmful algal blooms — go online to floridadep.gov and click on algae information. People also may report blooms at the website or by calling the DEP hotline, 855-305-3903.