[USA] This city’s officials say that red tide and nanoplankton have been found in waterways where dead fish and pelicans were discovered.
A water sample collected Thursday (Jan.19) by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff at Riviera Lake #1 has turned up bloom concentrations of nanoplankton. Riviera Lake #1 is the site of an initial cold weather inversion-related fish kill last week that led to discoveries of sick and dead brown pelicans. Meanwhile, a water sample collected at Bayou Grande, where a dead white pelican was found, showed background concentrations of Karenia brevis algae or red tide.
It is unclear what kind of nanoplankton was found, but red tide, according to NOAA, is a harmful algal bloom “caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins may also make the surrounding air difficult to breathe. As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.”
Further results of those tests, as well as necropsies on the dead pelicans, should be ready by next week, the city said. Research teams from the city, state and an independent study group will continue to monitor the waters for any unusual activity during the weekend. State-sponsored and independent scientists are also continuing to study the water quality following the recent rash of pelican deaths.
The city began testing waterways and posted warning signs this week in the wake of the fish kill and the discovery of the dead pelicans. The warning signs were removed from along Coffee Pot Bayou on Thursday after initial test results, compared with a recent baseline series of samples provided by the city of St. Petersburg, showed water was within recreational use parameters.
Despite increased water testing in the area, recent events have not caused a decrease in visitors to Coffee Pot Park. Social media posts indicate that there is more fish and wildlife activity in the waters over the past week, city officials said.
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