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DEP Tests Confirm Toxins in Blue Green Algae in Cape Coral

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
NASA Earth Observatory
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.


Tests on blue green algae at the Cape Coral Yacht Club came back with low levels of toxins that can contribute to environmental and public health problems. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection tested the algae earlier this week from two sites along the Caloosahatchee River. The other site, at the Alva Bridge, showed no toxins.

The Conservancy of southwest Florida’s Jennifer Hecker said the level was low at the Yacht Club but it was over the limit that would have triggered a health advisory in some states.

Our concern is that now that now that it is present we need to be having continuous monitoring and updates about that to make sure that the public is aware and can make informed decisions about whether or not to use the water in that area,” said Hecker.

“And then also to look at any other areas where blue green algae might be sighted and make sure that that’s being properly tested so we can know anywhere this toxin might be present.”

Hecker said she was not able to find a threshold for Florida at which the state would issue a health advisory. Other states’ levels widely vary on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

She said though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to decrease the flow of algae laden water from Lake Okeechobee this weekend, increasing water temperatures will still help what’s already here to grow.

If the water is especially dark or green algae is obvious she said to stay out of it, especially if you have cuts or low immunity.  Low levels of algae can cause respiratory irritation. 

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Amy Tardif is WGCU’s FM Station Manager and News Director. She oversees a staff of 10 full and part-time people and interns in news, production and the radio reading service. Her program Lucia's Letter on human trafficking received a coveted Peabody Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, a gold medal from the New York Festivals and 1 st place for Best Documentary from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. She was the first woman in radio to Chair RTDNA, having previously served as Chair-Elect and the Region 13 representative on its Board of Directors for which she helped write an e-book on plagiarism and fabrication. She also serves on the FPBS Board of Directors and served on the PRNDI Board of Directors from 2007 -2012. Tardif has been selected twice to serve as a managing editor for NPR's Next Generation Radio Project. She served on the Editorial Integrity for Public Media Project helping to write the section on employee's activities beyond their public media work. She was the producer and host of Gulf Coast Live Arts Editionfor 8 years and spent 14 years asWGCU’slocal host of NPR's Morning Edition. Amy spent five years as producer and managing editor ofWGCU-TV’sformer monthly environmental documentary programs In Focus on the Environmentand Earth Edition.Prior to joiningWGCUPublic Media in 1993, she was the spokesperson for the Fort Myers Police Department, spent 6 years reporting and anchoring for television stations in Fort Myers and Austin, Minnesota and reported forWUSFPublic Radio in Tampa. Amy has two sons in college and loves fencing, performing in local theater and horseback riding.