MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile Baykeeper has officially canceled The Big Float Event on Saturday, August 18 due to water quality issues and weather concerns. The event was intended to be a group paddling trip on Fly Creek followed by an after party at Sunset Pointe, but high bacteria levels of the creek and thunderstorms in the forecast forced Baykeeper staff to call it off.
“We are beyond disappointed to cancel this event, but the health and safety of our community is our highest priority,” said Casi (kc) Callaway, Mobile Baykeeper Executive Director & Baykeeper. “We want our citizens to safely swim, fish, and play in local waterways, but unfortunately water quality issues are preventing us from doing so.”
Mobile Baykeeper sampled the water quality of Fly Creek on Wednesday, August 15 and Thursday, August 16, both of which showed bacteria levels significantly above the EPA safe threshold for swimming. In these instances, high bacteria is typically associated with fecal matter from a variety of sources including discharged sewage, livestock, household pets, portable restrooms, or marinas. Bacteria levels in local waterways can particularly be worsened after periods of heavy rain, which points to a larger, underlying issue.
“This shines a light on a much bigger problem – a dire need for our community leaders to fix aging infrastructure and invest in critical upgrades to protect the health of our local waterways and the citizens who depend on them. Mobile Baykeeper will keep working to ensure this happens,” said Callaway.
Baykeeper staff hopes to reschedule The Big Float sometime in October and will inform the community once a date has been set. Refunds will given upon request to participants who paid for canoes and kayaks in advance, but Mobile Baykeeper encourages citizens to turn the rental fee into a membership to support its work for clean water, clean air, and healthy communities.
For more information about refunds or donations, please contact Justine Herlihy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 251-433-4229.
**These test results do not indicate the presence of Vibrio vulnificus, a flesh-eating bacteria that naturally occurs in warm, brackish waters. The EPA “safe” level refers to the level of Enterococci, a bacteria that indicates fecal contamination. Please be advised that other threats may exist and avoid entering the water with open wounds.