What’s in the water? Know before you jump in this 4th of July weekend

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Before you head to the beach or get in a boat this holiday weekend, you need to know what’s in the water.

What area is red tide impacting most and where is a different type of algae bloom thriving?

According to Pinellas County officials most of the county’s coast has cleared up from red tide, but some beaches like Fort De Soto are still seeing some issues.

Brandi Stutzman and Jane Germany expected to enjoy a girl’s beach day but weren’t expecting what they saw.

“Red tide was pretty obvious as we drove in,” Germany said.

“We’ve seen some of the kids playing with the dead fish, throwing them along the beach,” Stutzman said.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, red tide is blooming in patches from Charlotte County up to Pasco County.

In Pinellas County, the Director of Public Works, Kelli Hammer Levy says Pass-A-Grille beach to Fred Howard Park is in good shape.

But Fort De Soto Park and Tampa Bay are not.

“Follow the Dept. of Health guidelines which is to not be in water with dead fish,” Hammer Levy said.

There’s also a different algae blooming that glows when disturbed. It’s blooming in Old Tampa Bay, by the Bayside Bridge, and is called Pyrodinium Bahamense.

USF’s College of Marine Science Dean, Tom Frazer sent a statement in part that said:

“What we do know is these naturally occurring blooms occur seasonally in Tampa Bay. This organism produces a toxin that can accumulate in shellfish. It has the potential to make people and wildlife sick if they consume shellfish affected by the toxin.”

But Hammer Levy said not in Tampa.

“In our area, it is not been known to be toxic, this algae on the east coast has been shown to cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning,” Hammer Levy said.

Eight On Your Side asked if Piney Point can be connected to the algae blooms?

“I think the weight of evidence is that there’s a link. What that link is we don’t know yet,” Hammer Levy adding. “Anytime large volumes of nutrients enter a body of water, you’re going to have an impact,”.

Frazer sent 8 On Your Side a statement that read, “Nutrient inputs can certainly exacerbate red tides but at this point, we simply do not have data to support a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the Piney Point discharge and the occurrence of the red tide.”

To check the current status of red tide click here.

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