[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Fresh water release cleaning Caloosahatchee algae


Fresh water release cleaning Caloosahatchee algae

Jun 29, 2011 6:26 PM EDT


The rainfall the last few afternoons has been a saving grace for the Caloosahatchee River. The toxic river has gone from the color and texture of pea soup. Now, the Army Corp of Engineers is releasing thousands of gallons of rain water down river - flushing out of the Franklin Lock in Alva.

Anita Buff is back to work in her butterfly garden.

"Lawn work, pulling weeds, haven't stayed out by the water too much," said Alva resident Anita Buff.

It's work she says was long overdue because she hasn't been outside much in the past month.

The toxic algae has made it nearly impossible for her to breathe.

"It was horrible," she said.

But Wednesday, Buff's backyard looks different.

Where toxic algae once clumped in massive green and blue chunks, there remains just a sheen of emerald.

"It's still not very clear but at least we can see it's not that pea soup look we had before," she said.

Wednesday, we went to all the familiar spots we've visited in the past few weeks and we only found one noticeable algae bloom. That could be because the Army Corp. opened the Franklin Dam - dispelling 169,000 gallons per minute down the river.

And nobody is hoping for rain more than Jerome Allen.

He has been hired by the Army Corp of Engineers to scoop up the algae's victims – dead fish.

"Somebody's got to do it. I just get it and go and don't even think about it," he said.

He said on Wednesday, he only filled up one bucket with dead fish. He said that is down from three buckets a day last week.

But while the water looks remarkably better, Health Department officials say it may be months before it's safe for swimming and fishing.

The Health Department's next water quality test is scheduled for mid-July.

By Sarah Hollenbeck
NBC News

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