The researchers arrived in Fort Myers on Oct. 9 as planned and got two teams out on the water the following morning to start sampling for harmful algae, nutrients, and indicator bacteria. They also are measuring dissolved oxygen.
On Oct. 10, SCCF Research Assistant Sierra Greene, and UF-CSS team members Adam Hymel, Todd Van Natta, and Angelini sampled sites along the Caloosahatchee River, lower Charlotte Harbor, Matlacha Pass, Ft Myers Beach, and waters around the southern tip of Sanibel.
“The waters looked particular murky in the river and Matlacha Pass and Fort Myers Beach but relatively clear off the coast of Sanibel, highlighting that there is a lot of variation in impacts of the hurricane on water quality in the region and a need to keep a close watch on changing conditions,” said Angelini.
They are evaluating a suite of water quality metrics relevant to both environmental and human health, such as nitrogen and phosphorus levels as well as fecal bacteria, phytoplankton and industrial pollutants. This work, which is part of a larger project funded by the Army Corps of Engineers, will provide valuable information about the safety of waters in the region after Hurricane Ian, a storm that likely mobilized a lot of land-based pollutants due to its extensive storm surge and flooding.