Fort Myers Beach Conditions

Know before you go!

A Beach Hazard Alert is in effect through Monday September 17, 2018

Free Parking on Fort Myers Beach

Lee County Parks & Recreation is waiving parking fees now through Sept. 30 at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, 950 Estero Blvd., and Bowditch Point Park, 50 Estero Blvd. Both parks are located on Fort Myers Beach.

The Town of Fort Myers Beach has also waived parking fees at its sites until Sept. 30. This includes metered parking on Old San Carlos Blvd., the lots under the Matanzas Pass bridge and all beach accesses.

Water Quality Information

Check out these useful links for up to date information on water quality issues such as red tide, and blue-green algae.

Scroll down for information on current advisories as well as information on the different types of water quality issues.

Current Advisories and Updates

The Florida Department of Health in Lee is reminding residents and visitors to use caution when on the beach or in waters with high concentrations of red tide. Protect your family and pets by staying away from affected areas until the blooms move further offshore or they go away.  Red tide is a naturally occurring algae that has been documented along Florida’s Gulf Coast since the 1840s and occurs nearly every year. Because the blooms are patchy, other local beaches may be okay to visit.

Lee County has launched a website to assist in keeping the public informed on water quality issues.  Here is the link. https://www.leegov.com/waterqualityinfo

(September 14, 2018) From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: 

A bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida and extends along ~130 miles of coastline, from northern Pinellas to Lee counties, and extends offshore (10 miles or more). A patchy bloom of K. brevis was also observed in Northwest Florida for the first time this past week.

Relative to last week, increased K. brevis concentrations were observed at multiple locations in Southwest Florida (in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte counties). Decreased concentrations were observed in southern Lee and Collier counties. In Northwest Florida, K. brevis was observed in seven counties this week, compared to only one county last week (Bay County). Observations of >1,000,000 K. brevis cells per liter (“high” concentrations) occurred only in Southwest Florida (in or offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee counties). More specific details are provided below and at http://myfwc.com/redtidestatus.

In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at background to high concentrations in or offshore of Pinellas County, background to high concentrations in Manatee County, background to high concentrations in Sarasota County, medium to high concentrations in or offshore of Charlotte County, background to high concentrations in or offshore of Lee County, and background concentrations in or offshore of Collier County.

We continue to receive reports of fish kills in Southwest Florida. Over the past week, reports were received for multiple locations in and/or offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties. In Northwest Florida, reports of fish kills were received in and/or offshore of Walton and Bay counties. More detailed information is available at http://myfwc.com/fishkill.

Respiratory irritation was reported over the past week in Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, and Lee counties. 

(September 11, 2018) Caloosahatchee Condition Report

Caloosahatchee Condition Summary: Cyanobacteria blooms persists within Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee, and the estuary.

Click here to view the full report.

(August 30, 2018) FWC makes snook, redfish temporarily catch-and-release only in areas affected by red tide. Read more.

Reporting marine life

For sick, injured or dead sea turtles contact the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Sea Turtle Hotline at 978-SAVE-ONE (728-3663) or FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). FWC’s hotline can also be used to report any sick or dead animal.

To report a fish kill, contact FWC’s Fish Kill Hotline at 800-636-0511 or submit a report online. The public can also download the free FWC Reporter app to their mobile device.

To report a bird mortality, visit legacy.myfwc.com/bird.

Why Is This Happening?

These videos give an excellent overview of what is causing our current water crisis. If you are concerned about these issues please reach out to your congressmen on the federal level and ask for action.

This flyer from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation gives a good overview of the problem and what you can do to take action.

Please sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration today, and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Red Tide Information

In Florida, red tide is caused by a microscopic single-celled algae called Karenia brevis or K. brevis. It is present in background conditions throughout the year in the Gulf of Mexico. When natural conditions are right, the organism can form blooms producing a toxin. When red tide is present it can cause coughing, sneezing and teary eyes. People with asthma or chronic respiratory problems should avoid red tide areas. Swimming in water with red tide can also cause skin irritation or eye burning.

Please refer to this fact sheet for more information on red tide.

Blue-Green Algae Information

Cyanobacteria/ blue-green algae are a group of organisms that can live in freshwater, salt water or mixed “brackish” water. When conditions are right, such as warm water and increased nutrients, these organisms can increase in numbers and accumulate in some areas of a water body.

Blue-green algae can cause gastrointestinal effects if swallowed. Children and pets are especially vulnerable. If you spot blue-green algae, please contact Kalina Warren, environmental administrator with DEP’s Water Quality Assessment Program for the South Region at 407-897-4177.

You can find more information on blue-green algae using the links below:

Florida Department of Health

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Vibrio Vulnificus Information

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that normally lives in warm seawater. Itis part of a group of vibrios that are called “halophilic” because they require salt. Occurring naturally in the warm coastal waters, particularly during the summer months, Vibrio vulnificus has the potential to cause serious illness. People can get infected with Vibrio vulnificus when they eat raw shellfish, particularly oysters. Persons who have wounds, cuts or scratches and wade in estuarine areas or seawater where the bacteria might be present can become ill as well.

Symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus in wound infections typically include swelling, pain and redness at the wound site. Other symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection include; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills and the formation of blistering skin lesions. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

Please refer to this fact sheet for more information on Vibrio vulnificus.

Government Response

The U.S. Senate Thursday August 23, 2018, by a vote of 85-7, approved a bipartisan government funding package for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, Education and Related Agencies for the next fiscal year. It included:

$1 million to enhance the public health response for communities affected by toxic algal blooms. This provision would provide $1 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help areas most affected by harmful algal blooms. Priority would be given to locations subject to a state of emergency designation within the previous 12 months, which includes 13 Florida counties. A link to the amendment is here<http://www.billnelson.senate.gov/sites/default/files/Rubio-Nelson%20amendment-cdc-harmful-algal-bloom-response.pdf>.

Nelson, Rubio Call For Passage of WRDA Bill To Address Algae Crisis (August 16, 2018)

Click here to read more.

Letter from Senator Bill Nelson dated August 3, 2018 and the response from the Center For Disease Control

Click here to read Senator Nelson’s letter

Click here to read the CDC response.

Rooney Asks SBA Disaster Assistance for Businesses

Click here to read.