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Local experts: Elsa may or may not impact red tide

Red Tide July 7
Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 17:44:26-04

PINELLAS, Co. — Now that tropical storm Elsa has come and gone, the big question for many in the Bay area is what that means for Red Tide.

“A lot of us are asking the very same question that you all are asking,” said Maya Burke.

Burke is the Assistant Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary program. She said one of two things could happen due to Elsa.

“Rainfall from [storms] oftentimes contains lots of nutrients that can further fuel algae blooms,” she said. “Then there’s also the possibility that this sort of breaks things up pushing red tide out.”

Locals and tourists out on Clearwater, Wednesday, were enjoying the weather and not seeing any dead fish.“This is awesome,” said Tim Thompson.

Thompson and his family were out on Clearwater Beach about two weeks ago, during a red tide outbreak moving up the Gulf.

“There were quite a bit of dead fish out here,” he said. “It was smelly and hard to breath.”

Marine biologists are expected to get back out on the water this week to continue monitoring the water.

The good news, according to Burke, there are more eyes on the Bay and Gulf, because they are still monitoring the Piney Point leak from earlier this year.

As to whether or not the Piney Point situation coupled Elsa will lead to bigger problems for the area, Burke said “It think it’s just another hit for the Bay.”

“This is another question that can confound what’s going on, and it’s already pretty complicated.”