ENGLEWOOD, Fla. (FOX 13) - Blue-green algae, moving in large clumps, is littering the offshore waterways of Sarasota County. It's not the exact type of cyanobacteria algae that bloomed in Lake Okeechobee but this algae comes with its own bad side effects.
In Lake O, the blue-green sludge was caused by the microcystis cyanobacteria. At Indian Mound Park in Englewood, in the waters of Lemon Bay, it's a form of cyanobacteria called Lyngbya wollei.
Fisherman Terry Kennan says, regardless of the name difference, he is watching where he casts his line.
"I wouldn't let any kids or animals near that stuff. I don’t think it’s healthy to be around that particular bloom," he said.
The Florida Department of Health agrees. Cyanobacteria causes cyanotoxins which can cause skin rashes, lesions, respiratory irritation, and if ingested, intestinal problems. it can even kill animals that drink contaminated water.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection said cyanobacteria like what's being seen at Indian Mound Park is common in Florida, but Kennan said he's never seen it this bad.
After a horrible bout of red tide and witnessing similar algae problems in Indiana, he's concerned.
"Man is not going to survive. We have to have clean water... We have to spend some of our tax dollars on resolving these blooms. It has to be done. The money has to spent," he said.
This is not what you want to see in the water. Signs have been posted in areas of Sarasota county warning about a form of blue green algae. The DEP says it’s NOT the type found in Lake Okeechobee @FOX13News #Sarasota pic.twitter.com/shyDwAdTgA— Kim Kuizon FOX 13 (@kkuizon) May 7, 2019
Further north, in Osprey, a small patch remains at Blackburn Point Park.
"It's really messy. It almost looks like sewage coming in. It’s ugly looking," said Don Nelson.
The algae form large, brownish floating mats. As it's exposed to air and sunlight, the algae decay and produces a rotten egg smell.
"Anytime there’s anything in the water with potential danger, you have to be very careful. Respiratory and otherwise," said Nelson.
As the warning signs continue to present themselves, the DEP said it will continue testing and warn people to stay away from the bloom.
"I'm worried about the well-being of the wildlife and what’s going on and what consequences that will have," said Annabelle Von Girsewald.
To respond as quickly and efficiently as possible, residents and visitors are encouraged to report algal blooms through the DEP's hotline at 1-855-305-3903 or through the online reporting system at https://floridadep.gov/dear/algal-bloom.
Residents and visitors are always advised to avoid coming into contact with algae and to stay out of the water where a visible bloom is present.