Red Tide could be to Blame for Algae Problems at Robinson Preserve

Staff Report
BRADENTON — Red Tide may have been a contributing factor to Robinson Preserve's recent algae woes, according to Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker. The county has been hard at work clearing giant "algae mats" that had been clogging up internal water bodies at Robinson, leaving behind a malodorous environment, while preventing kayak access to certain areas.

Michael Elswick, Manager of the department's Natural Resources Division, reported in an email on June 27 that the county had removed "many tons" of the algae, and that the largest mat was about 1/5 of an acre large and 12 inches thick, comprised of the blue-green Lyngbya algae—which is actually brown in color. He said his workers had successfully cleared the blocked waterways by 1:00 p.m. that afternoon. 

Hunsicker told commissioners that much of the algae floating into Robinson was from sources in and around the Manatee River. Hunsicker said he felt that the legacy of our recent red tide bloom could have had an impact by taking out so much marine life that then decayed at the bottom of waterways, causing things like methane and carbon dioxide to be released during decomposition, making the algae more buoyant. He said it's a cycle that happens annually, but would have been increased by last year's historic red tide bloom.

Left: Algae mats observed recently in the preserve. Right: A floating turbidity boom seeks to block the mat's access to unaffected areas.

Reader Comments
Barbara A. Angelucci
JUL 07, 2019  •  It takes N (nitrogen) and P (phosphorous) to make algae. Mote is taking contributions and running around in circles but never willing to identify the elephant in the room....could phosphate be leaking into streams, etc. from Mosaic and meeting with the nitrogen to make this toxic green/blue stuff. Why is Mote not looking at this possibility?
Nancy Rowse Dean
JUL 07, 2019  •  Once again tax payers are stuck with an expensive clean-up caused by elected officials, who act on the behest of polluting and environmental destroying developers, who do not WANT to pay for any of the public costs they incur.
Russell Owens
JUL 07, 2019  •  Did the dead fish go to the landfill or to farmers fields to improve the soil. Put on fields in rotation, the fish would have made a great soil amendment, as would the algae that is now plaguing our waters. Why are we so unwilling to use what the Native Indians taught the colonists?
JUL 07, 2019  •  Simply a Photo op for Whitmore,etc