ENGLEWOOD — Englewood Sailing Association shut down the first week of its annual youth sailing camp this year, due to the blue-green algae mats in Lemon Bay.
Scattered clumps and patches of the algae are still floating in the bay or drying out along the shoreline, but the algae blooms aren’t as thick nor as prevalent as they were a month ago. That’s when Sarasota County posted signs near the water, warning residents to try not to come in contact with the algae, or wash themselves with soap and water if they do.
The signs are still up at Indian Mound Park, which is where the Sailing Association stores its boats and prams, and where the sailing camp has been held each summer since 2002.
The Sailing Association’s board decided late last month not to hold the first week of camp, and to monitor the water to see if the two remaining camp weeks could be scheduled. It’s the first time they’ve had to do that because of water conditions.
On Wednesday, board members took another look at the bay and decided it was safe to get the kids back on the water for the second of its three scheduled summer sailing camps.
“The word is good,” association president John Riehl said Wednesday after board members checked Indian Mound Park. The week-long sailing camp is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 24 at Indian Mound Park.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection identified the algae as blue-green algae bloom as lyngbya wollei, what researchers call a “filamentous algae” that can grow into large brownish mats that emit a foul odor.
Unlike the toxins produced by the marine red tide algae that plagued Gulf shorelines all summer and into the fall, the blue-green algae now in Lemon Bay is not responsible for killing fish or other marine life.
The blue-green algae mats, however, can produce cyanobacteria that can produce health effects that state officials described as generally “transient,” which is why the sailing association deemed it too risky to allow the sailing students to wade out in the bay.