Miami Waterkeeper: North Miami algae bloom related to Biscayne Bay fish kill

NORTH MIAMI, FLA. (WSVN) - An algae bloom in North Miami is directly correlated to the fish kill that left thousands of dead fish floating in Biscayne Bay, according to the Miami Waterkeeper.

David Pobiak, who has lived on the bay for 18 years, said he’s never seen anything like Friday’s bloom before, and it ruined his family’s outdoor activities.

“My kids, my wife, we are out on the boat quite a lot as well as the fact that we fish off of this pier quite often,” he said. “As a result, now, I wouldn’t even dare fish in these waters because of the contamination, the toxicity of the algae and the effect it has on the fish.”

Officials said the algae bloom on Friday was possibly caused by the decaying fish from last week’s fish kill. Miami Waterkeeper said the bloom is the result of nutrient pollution from septic tank sewage leaks, stormwater runoff and fertilizer.

“Once we have the fish kills, we have a lot of fish and sea grass decomposing in the water, and that causes more bacteria that uses up more oxygen and releases more nutrients,” Miami Waterkeeper Executive Director Rachel Silverstein said. “That can lead to these blooms.”

Fish kills are a regular occurrence during the summer when the water temperature rises, but officials believe sewage leaks and fertilizer played a part in the event.

“It’s beyond disgusting,” Pobiak said. “It looks like a carpet of sludge. It’s not just on the surface. It goes down into the water column, which is even more disgusting, if you think about it. What angers me the most is that we have the loss of our waterway of our lifestyle that we’re used to having, and now, it’s interrupted and, quite frankly, even after this is gone, I would be very careful to be back in the water.”

7Skyforce HD hovered over a waterway in the area that showed a lot of algae floating in the water. Cellphone video also showed the algae seeping into canals.

Cities such as Miami have been oxygenating the water to prevent future fish kills while upgrading their stormwater system.

“This will allow us to filter a lot of the sediments, the pesticides and also the plastic that ultimately ends up in our bay,” City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said.

Officials will soon be gathering water samples, and they are looking for the public’s input to find out where the bloom is happening in Biscayne Bay.

To help report any algae in the bay, please contact the Miami WaterKeeper at hello@miamiwaterkeeper.org.

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