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Tony Friedrich never wanted to be an expert on how nutrient pollution strangles an estuary. But he never had a choice, either. He’s been studying the Chesapeake as long as he can remember, watching dead zones spread through one of the planet’s most productive marine nurseries. His message to Florida: The same cycle of decline is taking hold in Florida Bay, the Caloosahatchee, and the St. Lucie--and we don’t have much time to stop it.
Jerry Kustich's books (including his latest, Holy Water) offer contemplative, insightful meditations on the peace and beauty of fly fishing. But this piece is different. Kustich grew up watching pollution destroy fisheries in his backyard and across the nation, and now he sees it happening in Florida.
Matt Hauck started fly fishing in Florida more than 25 years ago. Today he chases redfish from Jacksonville to the Keys and heads to Flamingo to find snook as often as he can. But a recent trip to Florida Bay inspired him to do something about the declining conditions he saw more and more frequently.
Did sugarcane growers flood the Everglades last week?
Few reporters seemed curious about how much of the wildlife emergency in their headlines was preventable. No one asked what it cost to keep fields dry in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA). Or how much water came off sugarcane fields.Read more
Florida Bay had another bad week. This video of the latest fish kill was taken on Monday at the marina in Flamingo.
Lake O had a bad week, too. As one expert reported:
“When I see over 200 ppb [phosphorus] going out of STAs--five times the Lake O limit and 20 times the Everglades limit--I have to wonder what the hell is going on? Nothing clean about the June 2017 EAA stormwater, regardless of how it was treated. Someone is lying.” (SFWMD’s Randy Smith told reporters the water was clean).
By Alan Farago
Remember how Big Sugar said the problem in Florida’s estuaries was septic tanks adjacent to the Indian River? They say the same about the mercury problem in the Everglades and Florida waterways: it’s someone else’s fault. Not of course that Big Sugar fails to clean up its pollution.
And now for something completely different...
SFWMD has the cure for "bad news" fatigue. It’s the python channel! All pythons, all the time.
Research linking cyanobacteria to liver failure ignited a recent wave of alarm as more evidence surfaced connecting toxic algae to health risks in coastal communities. But the South Florida Water Management District came through as usual with a welcome diversion on its electronic sidestage -- more pythons!
Although Florida faces another round of deep budget cuts, and federal funding for natural resource management programs may zero-out entirely this year, SFWMD somehow found the money to invest in a social media initiative dedicated largely to pythons.Read more
For the last month, the Caloosahatchee estuary hasn't gotten the freshwater it needs to survive. This week salinity levels at Ft. Myers climbed high enough to kill tape grass, the lifeline for virtually everything in this environment.Read more
Florida is home to the most biodiverse marine environment in North America. It's not the Everglades. Or Florida Bay. Or the Gulf Coast. More species live in the St. Lucie and Indian River Lagoon than in any other waterway on the continent. Dr. Grant Gilmore of Estuarine, Coastal and Ocean Science, Inc. has spent decades exploring and documenting an incredible array of life here.
Meanwhile Florida's sugar industry and water managers have spent decades regularly blasting toxic pollution into it. Somehow, despite massive reductions in seagrass beds and plummeting fish and shellfish populations, this amazing estuary isn't dead.
Dr. Gilmore shared some insight about the St. Lucie estuary and the unique environment Treasure Coast residents have been fighting to protect, and why there’s no other place like it in North America:Read more