Health Advisories, Red Tide, it has been a busy week… Water Quality Update – October 31, 2015

MAN! I lot has happened with water quality since our posting last Friday. The big news this week was the massive amounts of dead fish from a red tide that is covering the entire panhandle. Let’s get to the notes.


First, with the heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Patricia that came across the Gulf Coast you would expect a lot of runoff, a lot of nutrients, possible low dissolved oxygen levels, and high bacteria counts… hence a lot of health advisories issued. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection did not post any data this week. I am not sure if they did not sample or they have not completed their analysis yet – but there were no updates. The Escambia County Department of Health did sample and issued a POOR rating for all three bayous as well as Big Lagoon. This indicates that their samples showed more than 104 colonies / ml of sample and HEALTHY ADVISORIES were issued for the three bayous.


Second, I first heard of a report of a single dead fish near Deer Point earlier in the week. I told the caller that it could be from the recent rainfall but that a red tide had been lingering off of Panama City and Port St. Joe for a few weeks now… the recent storm may have moved the red tide westward…. Then the big fish kill a few days ago. Thousands of dead fish washed ashore from Panama City to Pensacola. Most were bottom dwelling species and included the lionfish. The suspect was red tide and we had to wait for FWC data to confirm. Here is FWC’s RED TIDE report for this week.


High concentrations were detected inshore and offshore in the following counties

Panhandle – Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf

SW FL – Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee


Background concentrations were detected inshore and offshore in the following counties

Panhandle – Escambia

SW FL – Pasco


Low concentrations were detected inshore and offshore in the following counties



Samples were collected but no Karenia were detected in the following counties

Panhandle – Franklin

Big Bend – Dixie, Hernando


FISH KILLS for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties

FWC received reports of fish kills from Navarre Beach to Pensacola Beach.

~ 750 dead fish were reported (we know there were more)

Species reported included snapper, grouper, grunt, hake, cusk eels, midshipman, cowfish, trigger fish, lionfish and even a tuna. There were reports of dead bait fish in the East River and bass from the Dune Lakes in Walton County. Many dead fish were not identified.


Just to let all know – as I was leaving Galveston TX yesterday the state closed all oyster harvesting in Texas waters other than Galveston Bay due to a red tide generated near Padre Island… appears to be red tide covering a significant portion of the U.S. Gulf Coast.



Do not know if UWF survey for lionfish inshore this weekend.


There has been concern about cases of Vibrio infection. We have posted an article about this bacteria which you can find at


Health Advisories – 7 reported for October

Fish Kills – ~ 750 for October

Red Tide – large almost Gulf wide event last week of October

Inshore Lionfish – none for October


Here are the numbers…


Oct 27, 2015



Body of Water Temp (F) Salinity (ppt) DO (mg/L) ENT ECHD

Floridatown no data

Blackwater River no data

Bayou Texar no data POOR

Bayou Chico no data POOR

Bayou Grande no data POOR

Lower Perdido Bay no data POOR

Upper Perdido Bay no data

Wayside Gulf Breeze no data



Washington High sampled Texar on Oct 14.


Station DO (mg/L) TN (ppm) TP (ppm) Chlorophyll a (ppm)

12th Ave

Bridge 5.9 600 90 1.2

Hyde Park

Road 7.7 200 120 11.4

Oyster Barn

Boat Ramp 8.3 100 0 12.7


Park 8.6 200 120 15.9


West Florida sampled Upper Perdido Bay – no report so far this semester


Escambia High – no report at this time


ENT – Enterococcus bacteria; an individual sample should not be more than 104 colonies / 100ml

Fecal Coliform – an individual sample should not be more than 800 colonies / 100ml of sample

DO – dissolved oxygen should be 3.0 mg/L or higher

ECHD – Escambia County Health Department (Enterococcus bacteria)

Good 0 – 35 colonies / 100ml

Moderate 36 – 104 colonies / 100ml

Poor +104 colonies / 100ml


FDEP – Florida Department of Environmental Protection

For more information on local water visit:


Posted: October 31, 2015

Category: Water
Tags: Red Tide. Water Quality

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