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‘Green’ canals no cause for alarm

Phytoplankton bloom to blame

March 20, 2014
By JIM LINETTE ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Often in spring, and sometimes in late summer, lakes and canals in Cape Coral are subject to taking on a green color on the surface of the water.

Kennedy Canal, which runs west from Lake Kennedy and connects with Alhambra Lake, has such a green cast to it, according to inquiries received this week. It's a naturally occurring event for a phytoplankton bloom.

Phytoplankton are microscopic organisms that live in salt and fresh water environments. Some phytoplankton are bacteria, but most are single-celled plants.

"Hyancinth Control has been putting grass carp (a sterile fish) in the canal to feed on plants," said city environmental biologist Greg Hankins. "Grass carp like to congregate and feed on the bigger plants."

Like land plants, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll to capture sunlight. Using photosynthesis, it produces chemical energy by consuming carbon dioxide and nutrients, and releases oxygen.

While phytoplankton blooms in the ocean can spread over several hundred square miles, most blooms like the one in Kennedy Canal are harmless and disperse in time.



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