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blue-green algae

Septic Tanks Eyed In Efforts To Combat Algae

Sep 26, 2019

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection should be teamed with health officials who permit septic tanks as the state tries to ensure cleaner waterways, members of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force agreed Wednesday.  

The Southwest Florida Water Management Board met this week. At last.

The board had to cancel a meeting recently because it lacked enough members present to have a quorum. Only seven of its 13 seats were filled at the time, and one member did not attend. The other vacant seats were awaiting appointments from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

New research just getting underway at Florida Gulf Coast University is exploring a novel approach to possibly someday controlling blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria.

Blue green algae floats in the lower St. Johns River in May 2010.
Courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.

Pinellas County officials are urging residents and visitors to stay away from some blue-green algae blooms that have popped up in the last week.

In the wake of last summer’s worst blue-green algae outbreak in Florida’s history, water management continues to be at the forefront of conversation in Florida. Now the state’s newly founded Blue-Green Algae Task Force has convened it’s first meeting. 

Algae forms on top of a body of water.
Wikimedia Commons

It’s 95 degrees. Sunscreen and sweat drips from your forehead. You do a cannonball into a lake to cool off and are greeted by a thick coat of blue-green algae.

This is the scenario Florida’s environmental specialists are trying to prevent by enacting fertilizer restrictions.

Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez
Alejandra Martinez / WLRN

State lawmakers passed several bills in the wake of last year's scourge of red tide attacking the coastlines and blue-green algae coming out of Lake Okeechobee. But some environmentalists say they didn't address the source of the problem - nutrients flowing into waterways.

Following a closed-door meeting with federal, state and local agencies on harmful algal blooms, Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney held a second roundtable meeting Friday that was open to the media and the public.

Governor Ron DeSantis wants $625 million dollars for environmental spending in the upcoming budget. DeSantis announced a plan Tuesday to fund more than 20 projects in the Everglades over the next five years.

President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill expanding funding in response to toxic algae.

Preparations are underway for a long-anticipated reservoir project meant to help restore the Everglades and prevent toxic blue-green algae outbreaks around Florida’s coasts.

The South Florida Water Management District has started surveying areas where it can expand canals that run south of Lake Okeechobee. The canals will help move lake water south to an Everglades reservoir.

Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change.

That’s the headline of a report released Wednesday by a Congressionally-appointed committee of scientists.

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says agencies involved in restoration need to do more analysis of how sea-level rise and increasing rainfall impact Everglades projects.

A project intended to help address blue-green algae outbreaks took a major step forward Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes a proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir.

Senators approved the bill, which includes many other water-related projects nationwide, by a margin of 99-1.

State Grants To Help With Algae Blooms

Jul 24, 2018

A $3 million grant program for local governments to clean toxic algae blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries has been started by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office Monday announced the grant program, which follows his July 9 executive order declaring a state of emergency for Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties because of algae outbreaks.

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott ordered a state of emergency for seven counties around Lake Okeechobee as a result of toxic algae blooms. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from the lake because the algae has spread to both Florida coasts, hurting home values, tourism and local businesses. 

Water releases from Lake Okeechobee toward both Florida coasts will resume Friday amid political backlash and a toxic algae bloom.

Tourism, fishing and public health are being threatened by contaminants discoloring stretches of beaches at the southern end of the Florida peninsula.

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants discharges of polluted water out of Lake Okeechobee redirected elsewhere.

Toxic algal blooms have been happening more often in the rivers off Lake Okeechobee. One of the main causes is phosphorous runoff from wastewater and farmland. But a new filter may make algal blooms caused by wastewater a thing of the past. 

Blue-green algae blooms that devastated Florida's coasts last summer contained as many as 28 types of bacteria, some of which can harm humans.

A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union is raising questions about the state’s handling of last summer’s toxic algae blooms in South Florida. 

Airborne Toxins Detected At Worst Algae Sites

Jul 27, 2016

Toxins have been detected in the air at four Treasure Coast sites where a toxic algae bloom has accumulated in high densities.

Kids fish off of a narrow dock in Manatee Pocket, casting lines into coffee-colored water untouched by the toxic algae bloom fouling the St. Lucie River a mile up the canal.

State Opens Bridge Loan Program for Algae Impacts

Jul 15, 2016

Businesses impacted by toxic algae blooms linked to water releases from Lake Okeechobee have until the end of August to apply for short-term loans to help get through the problems plaguing parts of Southeast and Southwest Florida.

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.

Wildlife officials say more manatees have died in a Florida lagoon plagued by algae and pollution.

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday asked members of the state's congressional delegation to push for federal help to deal with massive algae problems in waterways to the east and west of Lake Okeechobee.

WQCS

Officials are responding to fears in southwest Florida about a massive algae bloom fouling waters on the state's Atlantic coast.

The News-Press reports that the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau updated its website with water-monitoring information and live video of beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

The newspaper says tourism officials also frequently post videos from Fort Myers and Sanibel beaches on social media.

Florida's decision to fight a massive algae bloom by temporarily holding more water north of Lake Okeechobee is drawing criticism from federal wildlife officials who say the rising water is threatening 10 nests of an endangered bird.

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