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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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Red Tide Continues to Harm Florida’s Coasts

Algal blooms happen annually in Florida, but this summer blooms affecting the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s Lake Okeechobee are having a devastating impact on tourism and the environment. (Pixabay)
Algal blooms happen annually in Florida, but this summer blooms affecting the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s Lake Okeechobee are having a devastating impact on tourism and the environment. (Pixabay)
August 24, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Harmful algae blooms on Florida's southwest coast have killed wildlife and steered away beach-goers since late last year, and the problem doesn't appear to be slowing down.

The largest stretch of algae known as "red tide" spans close to 150 miles across coastal counties along the Gulf of Mexico. It causes respiratory issues for swimmers and kills fish and other marine life, and algal-cell concentration continues to rise in some areas.

Edward Phlips, a University of Florida professor of algal physiology and ecology, says red tides happen – but recent outbreaks are different.

"Red tides are periodically to appear,” says Phlips. “What's maybe different now is they seem to be happening somewhat more frequently and more intensely."

Red tide has affected coastal waters from northern Collier County to Pinellas County. Manatee County cleared 160 tons of debris and dead wildlife from its coast on Wednesday and is seeking more volunteers to help combat the algae.

The warming climate and ocean temperatures are thought to be exacerbating algae growth. Other likely contributors are septic tanks and farm runoff, which overload the water with nutrients.

But Phlips believes pinpointing a specific cause could prevent looking for the most effective overall solutions.

"A multi-dimensional problem has to be approached from multi-dimensional solutions,” says Phlips. “So it's complex, it can be expensive and it can take a while for the results of the management activities to actually cause a change."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission provides weekly updates on the red tide status on the coast, including impacted sites and counties with reported fish kills and potential offshore blooms.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - FL