An edition of: WaterAtlas.orgPresented By: Sarasota County, USF Water Institute

Water-Related News

Red tide persists along Florida’s Gulf coast; here’s how you can help stop it

Red tide shows up in southwest and west central Florida waterways and news headlines more often than we care to see it. Even the scientific name for its main causative agent, the phytoplankton (microalgae) Karenia Brevis, carries household name notoriety in the Tampa Bay Area due to its roaming prevalence of late in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like inconsiderate houseguests, some red tides tend to linger. The harmful algae bloom (HAB) that first appeared last December currently persists in low to moderate patches along Florida's west coast, with high concentrations present near Pinellas and Sarasota as recently as late October.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)'s Red Tide Current Status displays current tracking data. You can also call 866-300-9399 at any time from anywhere in Florida to hear a recording about red tide conditions. The recording is updated on Fridays at 5 p.m.

The good news? Scientists and environmental advocates now believe that by incorporating simple, eco-friendly practices at home, Florida residents can work alongside larger regional efforts to improve water quality -- and in doing so, encourage healthier waterways where HAB houseguests like K. Brevis won't feel welcome for such extended, high-concentration stays.