PALM BEACH, FL - Talk about getting slimed!
Four Florida counties are under a state of emergency from a gooey-green algae bloom along the coastline.
"It's devastating, it's heartbreaking," local business owner Trina Langstidd shared.
But no ghosts created this gross, green goo. Officials say this is a man-made disaster-- caused by the Army Corps of Engineers releasing water from Lake Okeechobee to prevent flooding.
"It's running off so the nutrients are coming with the freshwater, so that combination plus warm temperatures is going to create the conditions to cause these kinds of conditions," Florida Oceanographic Society Scientist Dr. Vincent Encomia explained.
Some think the thick, green sludge looks like guacamole, but you wouldn't want to dip any chips in this stuff...it's toxic!
The algae forced some beaches to close, and it's keeping people out of the water.
"This beach is usually packed," resident Rose Rosario remarked. "And it's....there's nobody here."
Residents say the algae stinks so bad it's wrecking havoc on local tourism.
"Portapotty. Smells like that," a meteorologist described. "Smells like raw sewage."
And the algae isn't just killing off tourism, environmentalists say it's killing off fish, too.
"We're spiraling into a massive fish kill in Martin County and on the west coast estuary," environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla related. "That's the next step after the algae blooms, it dies and you get a fish kill. "
Angry residents want the water release stopped, and they're protesting.
Protest organizer Mike Ramer said the message to Army Corps is clear: "Start sending the water south. Stop polluting our paradise!"