The red tide bloom that has haunted Southwest Florida since mid-September refuses to go away. According to the most recent report by state biologists, the bloom extends from alongshore of Pinellas County through Lee County and affects approximately 100 miles of shoreline. If there’s good news, it’s that the bloom has become increasingly patchy, with large areas of water seemingly unaffected at the moment. Most of the red tide is concentrated in Lee County’s inshore waters, but recent satellite images also show a bloom patch approximately 40 miles offshore of Collier and Monroe counties.
According to the report, the highest concentrations of Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, were found at Bokeelia and off the southern tip of Sanibel Island. Other areas noticeably affected include the south side of the Tampa Bay Skyway Pier, Boca Grande Pass, Captiva Pass, Cabbage Key, Captiva Rocks, Captiva Shoals, Mondongo Island, Redfish Pass, Buck Key, York Island, the Sister Keys, the Sanibel Causeway and Tarpon Road Beach. These areas are subject to change, as wind and tidal flow can have major and rapid impacts on the location of bloom patches.
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