Red Tide is spreading northward, along the west coast of Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife.

Dave Tomasko, the Executive Director of Sarasota Bay Estuary Program says there were initially 200 square miles of red tide from Venice to Sanibel. He says tropical storm Nicole pushed red tide northward.

Excess amounts of nitrogen are a main cause of the outbreaks. Tomasko says we’re loading 3 times as much nitrogen into Sarasota bay, and the Gulf of Mexico every year, compared to as if no one lived here.

“The live coral cover in the Florida Keys reef track is down to, depends on where you are, it’s like less than 5, to less than 10 percent. We hardly have any coral left, in our coral reefs. We lost 180 square miles of our sea grass meadows. We lost about a third of the manatee population on the east coast of Florida. You know, we gotta get our act together”, said Dave Tomasko .

Tomasko says we need to protect mangroves, clams, and oysters, because they help to reduce red tide outbreaks.

 Red tide is caused by pollutants entering in to the water. Some of these pollutants are agricultural runoff, human sewage, and decaying animals.