Thursday, January 27, 2022

Dead Fish, Water Issues Top Priorities for Beach Committee

Dead Fish: Officer Clayton Smith disposed of at least eight 50 to 60 pound grouper and several bags of smaller fish. Officer Josh Ferris removed a 200-pound grouper offshore at South Beach. Thank you officers, for keeping our beaches clean.

Red Tide: At the recent Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR) meeting, Florida Representative Bob Rommel (Dist. 106) provided the committee with an update on Lake Okeechobee. According to Rommel, “For years now we have been battling water quality issues here in Southwest Florida. We have two totally different issues, the green algae blooms and red tide. Currently there are multiple projects underway to help with the algae blooms and it looks like we are finally getting some federal dollars to help complete those projects that will strengthen the dike at Lake O and help restore water flow south. Those projects will take between five to seven years so there is no quick fix, but there is a plan, and now it seems, money too.”

According to Rommel, “Red tide has been happening for years but it does not normally happen as severe or in such a mass area this close to the coast. A large portion of our economy is tourism and many business owners have seen large decreases in their business because of water quality. I will be asking the governor’s office if we can give some of these businesses temporary relief for those that have been negatively impacted. Many are still recovering from Hurricane Irma and if this continues much longer it could be considered another natural disaster.”

Dead Fish on the Beach: BACR member Maria Lamb appeared before the Marco Island City Council at their meeting earlier this month, requesting that a protocol be in place for the removal of the dead fish on the beaches due to red tide. The City of Marco Island takes the same position as Collier County. Per Collier County policy, “Collier County does not remove dead fish from beaches unless a public health issue arises, which generally occurs with a higher fish kill (in the thousands rather than hundreds of fish).” Lamb requested that the Marco Island City Council set aside funds for the removal of dead fish at a lower threshold than Collier County. No action was taken by the Marco Island City Council.

Sea Turtle Lighting Violations: It has been reported that the beach is “lit up like a Christmas tree,” with many buildings in violation of the Sea Turtle Lighting Ordinance, along with the presence of nighttime fishermen with bright lanterns fishing on the beach.

Fire/Gas Grills on the Beach: Something new to the beach is the presence of fire/gas grills. Officer Clayton Smith reported that “He followed his nose” to the presence of gas grills cooking on the beach and has issued three verbal warnings.

Save the date: On Tuesday, September 4th at 6 PM come to South Beach on Marco Island to take part in an evening beach clean up.

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