Water Quality

A good way to stay informed on the health of the water is to monitor water quality. Natural phenomena such as hurricanes and heavy rains can increase water quality issues by increasing stormwater pollution runoff to local water bodies. Water Quality can also be affected by nutrients in the water, such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

Nutrients are naturally occurring in water bodies, but there are many sources of nutrients entering our water bodies. They come from natural decomposition of plants, contributions from wildlife and domestic animals, atmospheric deposition, development, automobile exhaust, septic tanks and fertilizer use, to name a few.

If you are interested in learning more about the water quality of Fort Myers Beach, please look at the links below. 

Fecal Indicator bacteria 

are representative of a suite of bacteria from the digestive tract of mammals, and often come from sources such as inadequately treated wastewater, leaking septic tanks, stormwater runoff, pet waste, livestock, and wildlife.

Of course, there are many other concerns with water quality that are not represented in this particular map, including vibrio, red tide, blue green algae, and hurricane debris in the water, to name a few.

The interactive Calusa Waterkeeper map can be seen online at https://calusawaterkeeper.org/issues/bacteria-monitoring/  at the bottom of the page, and you can click on each location and see the previous month’s results and more information about the site. 

Click here for the direct link to Fort Myers Beach water sample results.

Red Drift Algae

Red Drift Algae is any of a number of larger species of algae that can be seen with the naked eye. These species, which vary in color and can be red, brown, green or white occur naturally in the environment and can sometimes detach from the bottom and wash up along area beaches. These species are called macro algae because they can be seen without aid of a microscope. These algae are not harmful and are non-toxic but, when they wash up on beaches, can smell bad as they decompose. 
Currently minimal drift algae in the area.
big carlos pass

Current Beach Conditions

2022 12 December Results CWK and FDOH Map

  • Water quality information for visitors can be viewed here.
  • Current beach conditions collected by the BASE Department in the Town can be viewed here.
  • Live video footage of Fort Myers Beach can be viewed here.
  • Real time Gulf water quality can be viewed here.
  • Beach health advisory status can be viewed here.

Red Tide

The Florida Red Tide is caused by Karenia brevis, an organism that you can only see with a microscope. It’s always present in the Gulf of Mexico in small amounts, but when it “blooms” and occurs in larger amounts, it sometimes discolors the waters, giving them a reddish or brownish appearance, hence the name “red tide.” When blooms occur, their toxins can kill fish and other marine animals. When their toxins become airborne, they can also have respiratory effects on people at beaches.

Click here for recent reports from Fish & Wildlife Commission regarding Red Tide.

Lake Okeechobee Impacts on Southwest Florida

Lake Okeechobee impacts Southwest Florida through releases of freshwater travelling through the Caloosahatchee River making its way to the area beaches. There are several non-profit agencies that monitor the releases as they occur. The links below give access to those monitoring reports.

Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule

Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule (LORS)

Lake Okeechobee Water Level

Lee County Environmental Lab

Interim Regulation Schedule Data

Request to Army Corps of Engineers - Letter from Mayor

Request to South Florida Water Management District - Letter from Mayor

South Florida Water Management District letter regarding Lake Okeechobee Discharges

Southwest Florida Water Quality Results