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Drummer

NEW red tide and water condition report

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I have been here pretty much all month. Earlier the water was great and I did not see any indication of red tide south of mid-Cayo Costa. I believe the recent westerly winds have changed things a bit. For the last couple days any time I have been near the Gulf my eyes have burned and I have been coughing. I get the same report from several friends. Today my wife walked over Cayo Costa from the State Park dock on the inside. She saw multiple dead fish on the Gulf side, mostly hardheads, but at least one mature tarpon and one keeper gag grouper. The Gulf is very brown and angry with all the wind. Fishing inside has been mediocre, but drifting Captiva Pass is still as hot as a match for Spanish Mackerel, short groupers, and Mangrove Snapper. You can limit there on Snapper in just a few minutes, regardless of tidal flow. White bait is hiding around Roosevelt channel, the shoal north of RF Pass, and around Fosters on the grass. Overall the experience is still positive, but be aware the bay waters south of the powerline and around the passes are dark. We have caught several Blacktips less than 4 feet and one 6 + foot spinner shark, as well as a 5+ foot nurse shark. All of these while snook fishing with cut Mackerel or cut mullet.  Mullet, by the way, are abundant. So there's Captain Dave's updated report. Good luck on the water! 

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Man, that’s rough. It was getting mighty nasty by the time we left Saturday. I just read an article on all of the Dead Sea turtles washing up on Sanibel as well. All of this makes me want to puke

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Ran back to Jensen's today from Cabbage Key close in on the Cayo Costa side. Huge fish kill on the flats about a mile north of Pejuan all the way to the pass. Thousands of dead baitfish, trout, snook, catfish, pretty much everything. Boogied out of there so my bait well didn't get polluted. I have been fishing here on and off over 35 years and have never seen anything like this. Red Tide is tough stuff. Fortunately, it's north of Captiva Pass thus far. I hope the winds are favorable in the next few days and move this stuff off shore. Our estuary is in danger. 

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Major fish kill from the southern tip of Cayo Costa on the Gulf side all the way up to the trees. Maddening.  However, Captiva Pass was clear today. 

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This is my first time really following a red tide and immediate impacts. It truly is disgusting what gets done to a beautiful place. I have a question for those that have dealt with this before, how many years does it take to get back to normal? Was there enough fish kills to have major fishery impacts down the road?

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Took the family for a walk on the sound end of Ft. Myers Beach yesterday and it's bad. Dead fish everywhere and we actually started feeling it in our respiratory system as soon as you hit the waters edge. We had to leave. First time I've seen red tide hang around and move north and then back down again south over the last couple of months. I know red tide has been around for as long as I can remember on the west coast, but I really would like to see some long term studies that show if there's a real scientific tie between fresh water discharge and the natural gulf ecosystem? It would be interesting to see Okeechobee's largest discharge years along with all the red tides that have happened over the last 10-15 years. 

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13 hours ago, FMB MEGALOPS said:

Took the family for a walk on the sound end of Ft. Myers Beach yesterday and it's bad. Dead fish everywhere and we actually started feeling it in our respiratory system as soon as you hit the waters edge. We had to leave. First time I've seen red tide hang around and move north and then back down again south over the last couple of months. I know red tide has been around for as long as I can remember on the west coast, but I really would like to see some long term studies that show if there's a real scientific tie between fresh water discharge and the natural gulf ecosystem? It would be interesting to see Okeechobee's largest discharge years along with all the red tides that have happened over the last 10-15 years. 

Agreed. How do we get this done?? Government does not seem interested. 

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"...Government does not seem interested. "

The Government (Army Corps Of Engineers) releases the water from Lake Okeechobee  !!  The water was drained for this extended period into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers to protect the weakened Levee around Lake Okeechobee.  They prefer to kill fish than have the levee fail and kill many people. It is a big, sticky, & expensive issue. They are working on solutions but the money trickles, politicians wag their tongues, and the water keeps coming wholesale each Summer.

It is a terrible situation.

Mod M

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9 hours ago, Moderator said:

"...Government does not seem interested. "

The Government (Army Corps Of Engineers) releases the water from Lake Okeechobee  !!  The water was drained for this extended period into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers to protect the weakened Levee around Lake Okeechobee.  They prefer to kill fish than have the levee fail and kill many people. It is a big, sticky, & expensive issue. They are working on solutions but the money trickles, politicians wag their tongues, and the water keeps coming wholesale each Summer.

It is a terrible situation.

Mod M

It's always about the money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In short, look at big oil. Biggest money in the world and they install pipelines across some of the most impossible terrain on earth to get oil/gas where it needs to go. 

How much would it really cost to pipe some fresh water a few miles south into the everglades????????????????????

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Money, money, money. Big sugar needs lots of water and obviously big time reserves for the "drought" possibilities. We export an obscene amount of sugar to guess who..............CHINA. You want talk about trade this and that.......TAX THE *** out of CHINA for our sugar to help pay for a few miles of pipe. It's always political. However, my kids don't care who's running the show, the fish don't care, the everglades don't care, the environment just wants to be left alone so it can do what it does all by itself....LIVE. 

Sorry for the rant, but sometimes it's a lot easier than it may seems. 

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11 hours ago, Drummer said:

Agreed. How do we get this done?? Government does not seem interested. 

I wish I knew Drummer. But this is personal for us. If someone can tie red tide to these discharges then that's a game changer for sure. It would force, by law, a whole new reaction. It's just like most slow, long term problems. America is the worst at dealing with mitigation. We wait until the worst of the worst happens and then spend billions to fix it when it could have  been resolved for a fraction of the price to begin with. This reminds of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Worse levee system in the world for a city that's below sea level. We keep messing with nature and nature always prevails. 

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10 hours ago, Moderator said:

"...Government does not seem interested. "

The Government (Army Corps Of Engineers) releases the water from Lake Okeechobee  !!  The water was drained for this extended period into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers to protect the weakened Levee around Lake Okeechobee.  They prefer to kill fish than have the levee fail and kill many people. It is a big, sticky, & expensive issue. They are working on solutions but the money trickles, politicians wag their tongues, and the water keeps coming wholesale each Summer.

It is a terrible situation.

Mod M

Forgot to say THANK YOU MBG for your fight as well! 

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Went out from Estero bay. Lots of floating dead fish, even found a dead giant Loggerhead Turtle in the Gulf. 

Once we got out to 30+ feet of water, started seeing lots of bait, and catching nice Spanish Macks. Even saw a couple of huge tarpon roll offshore, I believe they were eating crabs, 

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1 hour ago, flatsdoctor said:

Went out from Estero bay. Lots of floating dead fish, even found a dead giant Loggerhead Turtle in the Gulf. 

Once we got out to 30+ feet of water, started seeing lots of bait, and catching nice Spanish Macks. Even saw a couple of huge tarpon roll offshore, I believe they were eating crabs, 

Good move. This is from my lagoon just inside Big Carlos Pass. It really starts hitting you when you start seeing game fish, turtles etc...It's strange how some fish don't seem to be effected. There were  unusually large schools of sheepsheads all over the place. Not sure if they are trying find shelter, but I've never seen that many small & large sheepsheads in the lagoon before in these numbers. I've been through lots of red tides before, but this one just feels off??

5b5f7e75d99a8_redtidesnook.thumb.jpg.4855118b4c1a3f239d9fa4da06c7d06c.jpgsheeps.thumb.jpg.7f55f8bb54a644e30dfddc4e03327efc.jpg

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Your water is still pretty clean.....can see those Sheepsheads swimming around in the pictures. My canal usually is stained a little now, but its really stained and the salinity is way down because of the Water Line Construction going on in my neighborhood. They dump thousands of gallons of fresh water into the saltwater canals to dewater the work areas. Its ruined the local fishing. Have caught nice Snook, Black Drum, Jacks, Sheepsheads, and Tarpon off my dock. Its all gone now. I may pickup and occasional mangrove snapper.  Maybe it will return when the construction is over........they estimate 2years and they just started this Feb.  Heres a Juvi Tarpon, and Black Drum off my dock in better times.

20160602_200955.jpg

20160602_200223.jpg

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FMB has it right, Lake water wouldn't be the issue if it weren't for big sugar. Pollution goes right to their front door and everyone knows it.  Everybody gets their panties in a wad on the small environmental stuff and lets this type of thing continue for yrs.  Need a change in FL politics to get it done, this is getting personal now.

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On 7/30/2018 at 8:39 AM, FMB MEGALOPS said:

It's always about the money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In short, look at big oil. Biggest money in the world and they install pipelines across some of the most impossible terrain on earth to get oil/gas where it needs to go. 

How much would it really cost to pipe some fresh water a few miles south into the everglades????????????????????

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Money, money, money. Big sugar needs lots of water and obviously big time reserves for the "drought" possibilities. We export an obscene amount of sugar to guess who..............CHINA. You want talk about trade this and that.......TAX THE *** out of CHINA for our sugar to help pay for a few miles of pipe. It's always political. However, my kids don't care who's running the show, the fish don't care, the everglades don't care, the environment just wants to be left alone so it can do what it does all by itself....LIVE. 

Sorry for the rant, but sometimes it's a lot easier than it may seems. 

The USA internally has some of the highest priced sugar in the world, because a minimum price is set by the gov’t. So would think that big sugar is selling as much as possible in the US. But they are being subsidized by the consumers as it stands, by artificially raising the price. This in affect allows them to export at lower prices, so if we just remove the minimum price locally the export price would go up. Most confectioners have moved out of the US, due to the high cost of sugar. Then you wonder why you see corn syrup sweeteners in so many products, but it has even uglier health consequences than sugar.

We have met the enemy and it is us.

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Why are we making life easier for the sugar growers? Their product is nearly as bad for our health as cigarettes. 

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Follow the money.....US Sugar has deep pockets and contributes money to candidates, in turn they let big sugar do what they want. Until their is enough damage or a candidate that will stand up to them, its pretty much a mute point. Rick Scott is disappointing in his responses about the contaminated water.

Its not just nutrient contamination either. Millions of gallons of fresh water are dumped down the estuaries  reducing the salinity levels killing fish, shellfish, and plant life. Usually In the winter...dry season it rebounds pretty well. Not so sure about this year.

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Very little runoff from sugarcane fields south of Lake O gets into the lake and then discharged out of the Caloosathachie.  Its more than that and we definitely need more information and education on the subject.  Sugarcane runoff more likely goes in the glades and down to Florida Bay, not that that is any better.  The water is contained in the lake partly to keep the cane fields dry and people in Belle Glade, Pahoke etc alive.  But the water going into the lake comes in from the Kissimmee River and tributaries to the north.  A whole different pollution source from golf courses, lawns, parking lots, septic tanks, farms, etc. in and around Orlando.  There used to be a lot of dairies up there that provided a lot of phosphorus loading but most of them are gone now.  No body wants to think that they might be part of the problem when they can just point to some big bad boogey man.  Its easy to say its big sugar that is causing this red tide, but it's probably not as much a sugar problem now as people want to think.  Which means the solution isn't as easy as just "sticking it" to big sugar.  Get rid of the sugar cane field and the lake will still have problems.  Heck, we don't really even know that the discharge from Lake O is causing the red tide, though the severity is probably not coincidence.  Siesta Key is bad and there have been bad red tides in Tampa Bay in the past.  Hopefully the upshot of this is that more people will get informed about the hydrology of Florida and become invested in real solutions for the Lake, the glades and overall water quality and quantity issues affecting the entire peninsula.  I'm just as concerned about all the freshwater that gets dumped in the Gulf and Atlantic every summer when we still get most of our freshwater out of the aquifer.  That is a problem that affects everyone across the state, all year round. 

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Two separate issues. Lake O discharge isn’t responsible for this redtide. Don’t get me wrong, the discharges have major negative impacts on both coasts, but that’s not the cause of the redtide. 

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These are two separate issue's. Red tide has been documented over a century, well before Lake O was ever dammed up. However, what would be nice to see is a scientific study that would show or not show if the discharge water contributes to the severity of red tide. I wish there was a way to duplicate these two water issues and see if there are any effects of fresh water runoff mixing into red tide waters. If the runoff water exacerbates the severity of the red tide in any manner whatsoever then you have a very good legal environmental argument on a whole different level. 

I strongly encourage everyone on this forum to visit, Captains for Clean Waters. These guys are doing a great thing about bringing awareness to all who want to make a difference! 

 

https://captainsforcleanwater.org/

 

ABOUT CAPTAINS FOR CLEAN WATER

Captains for Clean Water is a grassroots 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for the elimination of harmful, large-scale Lake Okeechobee discharges into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River Estuaries by restoring the natural flow of Lake Okeechobee water south into the Everglades and Florida Bay. Restoring the natural southern flow of Lake Okeechobee water is essential to the survival of our estuaries, the health of the Everglades, and the long-term viability of South Florida’s largest drinking water source (the Biscayne Aquifer).

Captains for Clean Water started out as a group of fishing guides from Fort Myers, FL that “had enough” of Florida’s poor water management practices. We have witnessed the long-term decline of estuaries across south Florida – and we have seen the acceleration of that decline over just the last ten years. Inexplicably, no significant progress has been made to solve this enormous problem – and that is simply not acceptable to us.

Given the destruction we have seen firsthand, we are convinced that if everyone knew what we knew, this problem would have been fixed already. Unfortunately, the solution to this problem has been obstructed by large corporate agricultural interests and government mismanagement. The science has been proven time and time again- the state needs to acquire land south of Lake Okeechobee to store, treat and convey water south. This consensus solution has been delayed decades because our state’s lawmakers have enjoyed large-scale campaign contributions from agricultural corporations seeking to benefit from the status-quo, combined with a lack of public awareness. We’re here to fix that.

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Just spend the month of July in Englewood and the Red Tide is about as bad as I've ever seen. Back in Orlando now and even the news channels here are covering the Red Tide. One local news channel says this Red Tide is just a bad as the one in 2005 and that tide lasted 17 months.

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We need national coverage on this issue. I am in Charlotte, NC now and nobody up here is reporting anything. I watch the national news regularly in the AM and it's usually all politics and really dumb commercials. This environmental disaster affects everyone, regardless of political slant. Sad. 

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