Red tide bloom moves in on Florida

“A monstrous red tide bloom, the largest seen in Florida since 2006 is advancing on the state’s beaches. It has already killed thousands of fish in the Gulf of Mexico, and officials are now concerned about health risks if it washes ashore.”  Source:

GR:  August 11 (latest update:  August 9, map)  According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, “Satellite images from the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of South Florida show a patchy bloom up to 60 miles wide and 90 miles long, at least 20 miles offshore between Dixie and northern Pinellas counties in northwest and southwest Florida. This bloom has caused an ongoing fish kill.  FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline has received reports of thousands of dead and moribund benthic reef fish including various snapper and grouper species, hogfish, grunts, crabs, flounder, bull sharks, lionfish, baitfish, eel, sea snakes, tomtates, lizardfish, filefish, octopus, and triggerfish. Water discoloration and respiratory irritation have been reported offshore in the bloom patch. Forecasts by the Collaboration for Prediction of Red Tides show little movement of the surface bloom and slow east/southeast movement of bottom waters, which should keep the bloom offshore within the next few days.”

GR:  Red tides have occurred in the Gulf of Mexico for at least 400 years.  There is evidence that they have become larger and more frequent over the past 50 years (Wikipedia).

Algae has now (August 11) fully covered the smallest of my three ponds.  Previous blooms killed all the fish, this one will have to be content with the smaller organisms.  The larger ponds are threatened, but the abundant waterlilies on those ponds are holding on for now.  By occupying the surface of the ponds the lilies physically block the algae. The excess nitrates that enrich the pond water and promote excess algae growth come from the farm just upstream of my place.  Or perhaps there is a huge bat guano deposit on the floodplain of the river, or perhaps prehistoric settlers polluted the area, or maybe it was just the Martians dropping flying saucer wastes.


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