Local and state agencies are testing the water in a North Miami Beach canal after a recent algae bloom.
Longtime North Miami Beach resident, Silvia Vanni, used to
record videos of sharks and stingrays roaming the water behind her home on the
Sans Sousi Canals that pour into Biscayne Bay.
Now, the water looks like a thick, murky, uninhabitable
“I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never, ever seen
anything like this,” said Vanni.
She wasn’t just talking about the algae bloom that emerged
behind her home a few days ago.
“The fish kill last week was definitely something I’ve never
seen before,” Vanni said.
Seeing first, the fish kills, and then the algae bloom is
especially difficult for her. Vanni says she lost her 7-year-old son Salvatore
to cancer in 2011. She remembers his love for the sharks they would see. She
fears now for their well-being.
“To think they are dying it’s heartbreaking and very
Environmental investigators with various local, state and
federal agencies are looking into the algae blooms and the fish kills. Miami Waterkeeper,
a nonprofit environmental group, says both events are part of a biological
“That’s a vicious cycle or decline for the bay,” said Miami
Waterkeeper General Counsel Kelly Cox. “So, what that means is the nutrient
pollution kills the seagrass and feeds algae overgrowth, the bacteria causes
low amounts of oxygen, low oxygen kills the fish, the decaying fish causes more
bacteria and more algae and the cycle continues to repeat and repeat.”
Another agency working to figure out what’s going in
Biscayne Bay is the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource
Management. They collected water samples on Saturday and are investigating the
algae bloom and fish kills separately for now.
“We need to understand what’s driving both of those events, and
so until we have a better grasp on sort of what the origin of those verbs are it
will be harder to link them so we are investigating them separately at this
time,” said DERM’s Pamela Sweeney.
As for Vanni and many other South Florida residents calling
in to report the algae bloom, the hope is for answers to surface soon.
“There is no way any marine life can live in this,”
Miami Waterkeeper advises to stay away from coming in contact with this water, or eating any fish or shell fish from the bay at this time. Miami-Dade county says you can call the complaint line at 305-372-6955.
Read more:: Scientists – NBC 6 South Florida