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Editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, Blair Wickstrom, spends a Sunday afternoon enjoying the St. Lucie River, to close out September.Read more
Dr. Larry Brand is a marine biology professor and algae research specialist at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. He has extensive knowledge of red tide and cyanobacteria and has seen firsthand how the toxins produced by algal blooms can devastate marine food webs.Read more
Thousands of voices stood up for our waterways during the LOSOM scoping meetings at the beginning of the year. We need your help again.Read more
13 months ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t track toxic algae in Lake Okeechobee discharges. Today, they are changing the way they manage the lake specifically to prevent harmful health effects from toxic algae. This is huge news, and we are grateful to all who have helped us keep the pressure on.
“How toxic is too toxic?” Don’t ask.
A year ago, Congressman Brian Mast questioned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers about their role in tracking toxicity and warning affected communities when cyanobacteria blooms occur. His questions highlighted what has historically been an unacceptable toleration for coastal communities’ exposure to health threats from Lake Okeechobee discharges.
No one with knowledge of the decades-long decline of South Florida’s estuaries could have been prepared for what we heard yesterday.
After years of static, after seemingly endless sidestepping and half-truths and flat-out lies from officials at every level, a stark, simple truth exploded like a thunderclap in congress. This exchange took seconds:
There’s a couple things that Floridians have learned to count on each and every summer. A betting man could safely put his money on excessive heat and some amount of sure rain. Lately, unfortunate odds have made toxic algae outbreaks a strong third on the list of likely’s.
The system we have right now might work if Florida weather was predictable. It's not. We average about 55 inches of rain, but we have more extreme years than we have average years. Mismanaged priorities and our broken operational system leaves massive discharges to our coasts as our only option in wet years.
Last summer’s red tide event persisted longer than any in more than 10 years with help from a constant source of nutrients from Lake Okeechobee discharges. Marine life was killed in unprecedented numbers, sparking headlines across the nation that had residents and visitors worried about human health impacts of harmful algal bloom exposure and looking to the state for answers.
Warmer days are coming, but residents may get a break this year thanks to the Army Corps’ decision to head-off mid-summer discharges. Still, facing a crisis that is likely to return, people have reasons to beware of what they hear from the state or from state-funded scientists eager to please their benefactors. When a prominent laboratory proclaims, “c’mon in, the water’s fine,” following the money can lead to unsettling questions.