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Visitors disappointed beach closed to swimming over algae

Locals disappointed beach shut down over algae concerns (WPEC)

The water looked clear at Bathtub Reef Beach Wednesday, but double red flags warned Mike Busch and his wife that danger may be lurking in the form of blue green algae.

“She just went down to wash the sand off and the lifeguard gave her the whistle and said 'watch out, get out, don’t go in',” he said.

A lifeguard told CBS12 algae was discovered in the ocean yesterday, prompting officials to close Bathtub Reef Beach to swimming.

It was disappointing for Busch who is visiting Hutchinson Island on vacation.

“It’s 90 degrees and I want to swim,” he said.

President of the Indian Riverkeepers Kenny Hinkle Jr. is also disappointed the beach is temporarily closed to swimmers.

“It’s just ridiculous to me that here we are in August and our beach is closed,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle wants to see something done so that locals and tourists alike can enjoy any beach in South Florida any time of the year.

He believes keeping Lake Okeechobee at a lower level would help prevent blue green algae.

“If we can lower that down to 12 feet, then we can get away with one rain event. Right now ,they hold it at 15 and if we get one rain event, we’re getting dumped on the rest of the summer,” Hinkle said.

If something is not done soon, there’ll be at least one less tourist visiting Florida next year.

“If you guys don’t have clean water, I’m not going to come here. No one is,” Busch said.

The algae at Bathtub Reef Beach will be tested to determine if it’s toxic.

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