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Algae expected to impact tourism in the Treasure Coast

Algae expected to impact tourism in the Treasure Coast (WPEC)

During the summer, the Treasure Coast is usually a popular tourist destination.

They come to see Florida at its best, which means algae free.

But with the green gunk infesting the waters, some people are looking for a different place to vacation.

For tourists who already booked their trips here, they don’t have much choice. But those with more flexibility may choose to spend their money somewhere else.

“An older man asked me how the algae was so I just told him it didn’t seem like it was too bad,” says Chase Glass, who is visiting Martin County for the first time from Indiana.

For this vacation, Glass and his friends had one goal.

“Get away to the beaches mostly beautiful water,” he said.

For the last couple of days that’s what they’ve been doing.

“So you haven’t seen green water?"

"No, not really,” Glass said.

However, Mark Waronicki couldn’t ignore the algae problem if he tried.

Waronicki lives on the waterfront. When his family decided to visit, he had a long list of things for them to do.

“Go out on the river and fish and water ski and swim,” he said.

But the green water put a halt to those plans.

“It’s disgusting,” Waronicki said.

But Martin County’s tourism department says despite the algae, there’s still plenty to do.

“Algae is not everywhere, it’s not impacting all of the areas in Martin County,” says Nerissa Okiye, the county’s tourism and marketing manager.

But for Waronicki and many others, that’s not enough.

“It’s now becoming a lot more restrictive of what you can do and even be proud of,” Okiye said.

Martin County officials say they don’t know how the algae has affected the tourism dollar yet, but they expect it to and are now boosting marketing.

They won’t have the final numbers until the end of the year.

You can track crews as they take algae samples across the state through an interactive map. You can also report algal blooms by calling 855-305-3903 or by going online.

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