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County directs contractor to assist with beach cleanup effort

July 31, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Lee County has hired its debris-removal contractor to supplement efforts currently underway by Parks and Recreation employees to clean county beaches affected by the recent red tide fish kill.

CrowderGulf will begin the morning of Aug. 2, concentrating first along county parks and beach accesses on the Sanibel Causeway, Lynn Hall Park to Bowditch Point on Fort Myers Beach, and Boca Grande, according to officials.

"Lee County is actively working to clean up the debris along our beaches as a result of the recent red tide bloom," Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass, chairman of the Lee County Tourist Development Council, said.

Parks and Recreation crews now are cleaning parks and boat ramps of the larger fish - not pinfish - each morning. CrowderGulf will supplement those efforts and also is under contract by the city of Sanibel and town of Fort Myers Beach.

The county will focus on the most affected county parks and accesses.

The county also urges property owners adjacent to beaches to clean their immediate areas and is working on a plan to place dumpsters in key locations where residents can dispose of the fish. People may also pick up fish immediate to their homes and businesses and place them in their normal waste stream by double-bagging them and placing them in their regular trash receptacles. However, the hauler will not be able to make additional collections outside of regularly scheduled collection days.

Once the locations of dumpsters is determined, the county will release that information through the media and on its website.

Red tide is a naturally occurring microscopic alga that has been documented along Florida's Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs nearly every year. Blooms, or higher-than-normal concentrations, happen periodically. Blooms typically occur miles offshore and are carried to the shore by winds and currents.

Red tide is a different organism than blue-green algae or cyanobacteria that has recently bloomed in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie river basins.

For more information on red tide statewide, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission site at



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