ENGLEWOOD — For the first time in months, Charlotte County is free of detectable concentrations of the red tide algae.
While natural to the Gulf in small concentrations, area beaches and bays have seen algae blooms on and off — mostly on — since early July.
But Wednesday, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission reported no signs of the toxic algae in recent water samples taken from Charlotte County.
South Sarasota County is clear as well.
The dividing line this week is the Venice Inlet. South of the inlet, water samples show very low concentrations of the algae in samples collected Monday at Brohard Beach, the “doggie beach” near the Venice fishing pier. North of the inlet, at North Jetty Beach and Nokomis Beach on Casey Key, samples show low concentrations.
After weeks of tainted water samples, St. Petersburg appears clear of red tide as well. Only off of Hernando County and north to the Panhandle do low levels of red tide algae turn up in water samples.