An ugly and smelly gun floats in the water, and this sight makes the neighbors afraid to even approach the water.

The mats were found between Cocos Island and Tigerwell Beach on Marco Island.

The gun has an unpleasant smell and appearance. Collier Couty’s water conservator told WINK News that the sediment should be tested. It may be completely innocent, one would hope, but the water conservator cannot rule out the possibility that it is a harmful form of cyanobacteria.

“It seemed like a ball of sand. it looked like papier-mâché because when the boats went by I think the propellers were banging on it. And then they kind of fell apart,” said Ganin Montgomery, the woman who found the gun.

WINK News spoke with Collier County Water Superintendent CC Schulberg about the guns.

“It looked like a species of cyanobacteria called Lyngbya, which is very toxic and dangerous to humans,” Schulberg said.

Schulberg explained that the dredging project, which began in November 2022 and is still ongoing, may be to blame. Dredging can stir up sediments and nutrients that favor the growth of cyanobacteria.

“Typically, if something untoward happens as a result of dredging, they have to stop dredging and find out what’s causing the mats. I think it’s worth further study to see if it’s cyanobacteria or if it’s just some innocent sea foam,” Schulberg said.

Schulberg told WINK News that scientists will be looking at the mats under a microscope next week. And while we don’t have any answers, stay out of the water if you see a weapon.

“Be careful and don’t go in the water,” Schulberg said.

If the mats are proven to be lingbia, Schulberg told WINK News, it’s a new battle. The bacteria is extremely difficult to get rid of, and once it takes hold, it can spread.

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