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

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: Afloating turbidity boom seeks to block the mat's access to unaffected areas.


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