Lee County, Florida
Drift rhodophyte blooms emerge in Lee County, Florida, USA: Evidence of escalating coastal eutrophication
Macroalgal blooms have increased globally in recent decades as a result of increased nutrient enrichment and eutrophication of coastal waters. In Lee County, FL, this problem reached a critical stage in 2003 and 2004 when massive drift rhodophyte blooms washed ashore between Sanibel Island and Bonita Springs, making beaches unsuitable for recreation and requiring an expensive removal program.
To better understand the ecology of these blooms, water quality and macroalgae sampling was conducted in early August 2004 prior to hurricane Charley and again in late October following several months of heavy discharges from the Caloosahatchee River. During both samplings, water and macroalgae were collected along a gradient extending from the Caloosahatchee River to natural and artificial reefs some 26 km from shore.