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Nanoplankton, red tide found in St. Petersburg waterways

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St. Petersburg is continuing to test waterways after nanoplankton and red tide was found in samples collected Thursday in areas where a fish kill and dead pelicans were found.

City officials said a water sample collected by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff at Riviera Lake #1, the site of an initial cold weather inversion-related fish kill last week which led to discoveries of sick or dead brown pelicans, has turned up bloom concentrations of nanoplankton. Meanwhile, a water sample collected at Bayou Grande, where a dead white pelican was found, showed background concentrations of Karenia Brevis, or red tide.

Results of those tests, as well as necropsies on the dead pelicans, should be ready by next week, the city said. Research teams from the city, state and an independent study group will continue to monitor the waters for any unusual activity during the weekend. State-sponsored and independent scientists also continue to examine the water quality.

Initial test results, compared with a recent baseline series of samples provided by the city of St. Petersburg, showed water was within recreational use parameters. Despite increased water testing in the area, recent events have not caused a decrease in visitors to Coffee Pot Park. Activity by residents on social media indicates that there is more fish and wildlife activity in the waters over the past week.

The city’s waterways became the focus of concern this past couple of weeks after the fish kill and pelicans were found dead. Officials initially posted the areas as off-limits to recreational users but removed the signs Thursday after initial test results, when compared with a recent baseline series of samples provided by the city, showed water was within recreational use limits.


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