Algae

Peter Frezza / Audubon Florida

As soon as they could after Hurricane Irma, researchers went out onto Florida Bay to see how the estuary fared after its close encounter with a Category 4 storm.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

So much rain so early in the wet season has led to a slow-moving crisis across South Florida: what to do with all the water before things get really bad.

WQCS

Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.

TCPalm reported Sunday that the cluster in Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties is the only one of its kind in the state.

Nationwide, there are 65 such clusters, according to researchers at Ohio State University.

Legislation making its way on Capitol Hill could help Florida communities hit by toxic algae blooms.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Seagrass in Florida Bay has died off rapidly over the past couple of years. About 40,000 acres have been lost, harming the habitat of animals from manatees to toadfish and imperiling the area's fishing industry.

The lingering nature of water through the Everglades has been matched by the slow progress toward the massive goal of reviving the region with more water and cleaner water.

It’s been 17 years since President Bill Clinton signed into law the bill that included the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. That began the modern day effort to restore the Everglades after a century of draining and redirecting the water to create today’s South Florida.

More than half way through the expected time frame for the work only a half dozen projects are underway.

Amy Green / WMFE

Teams from Delray Beach and the University of Idaho are the first finalists in a $10 million competition aimed at identifying ways of removing excess nutrients from waterways.

The Everglades Foundation’s four-year competition targets phosphorus, the nutrient behind harmful algae blooms like those plaguing the Indian River Lagoon and other Florida waterways.

The foundation’s Tom Van Lent says the Delray Beach team’s proposal relies on a natural ocean mineral while the University of Idaho’s is based on a plant scrubbing water clean.

Toxic Algae Found To Be Growing Global Concern

Oct 26, 2016

New research shows toxic algae blooms like those that plagued Florida’s coastal estuaries this summer are a growing global problem.

Research from the U.S. Geological Survey shows toxic algae blooms have been reported nationwide and are implicated in human and animal illness and death in at least 43 states.

Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. Organisms are shutting down beaches in Florida, sickening swimmers in Utah and threatening ecosystems in California.

The blooms are a normal part of summer, but the frequency, size and toxicity this year are worse than ever.

And water managers are rattled.

"Everyone's on edge with the cyanobacteria," says Bev Anderson, a scientist with the California Water Resources Control Board.

Emails reporting outbreaks of cyanobacteria — or blue-green algae — fill Anderson's inbox every morning.

The Obama administration has once again refused Florida Gov. Rick Scott's request to declare a federal state of emergency because of algae blooms on the St. Lucie River.

Martin County Health Department

Florida’s Senate President-elect Joe Negron announced Tuesday he’ll seek state lawmakers’ approval for a $2.4 billion plan to store water south of Lake Okeechobee.

 

The plan would require the acquisition of about 60,000 acres of land in an area mostly occupied by sugar growers and farmers. The goal is to reduce Lake Okeechobee water outflows that have contributed to the growth of blue-green algae on Florida's east and west coasts.

A new state report estimates that half the lake area in Florida contains elevated levels of algae.

Scientists found blue-green algae again in Southwest Florida waters this week. The toxic algae has been plaguing beaches on the east coast for weeks now.  Experts say this could get worse on both coasts now because of the summer heat.

Fifty-four businesses from seven counties have alerted the state they have suffered some form of economic damage from toxic green algae coating waterways in parts of Florida.

The toxic blue-green algae plaguing the Treasure Coast has inspired people to take action against one of Lake Okeechobee's largest pollutants: Big Sugar. Last week, a surf shop in Stuart started a petition asking Publix to stop buying from Florida Big Sugar.

 

“Publix is a Florida-owned company so it's got to be affecting them, the owner, in some way,” said Brent Meinhold, one of the managers of Ohana Surf Shop.

 

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