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Politics

Algae Panel Puts Together 'Roadmap' for Lawmakers

October 8, 2019 - 7:00am
2012: blue-green on the Santa Fe River near Gainesville
2012: blue-green on the Santa Fe River near Gainesville

A document discussed Monday by the state’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force should be viewed, members said, as a broad roadmap for lawmakers with the 2020 legislative session less than 100 days away.

And task force members, meeting in Gainesville to further edit the document, said they will look in future meetings beyond Lake Okeechobee and nearby waterways that have been plagued by toxic algae.

Member Wendy Graham, director of the Water Institute at the University of Florida, said it is important to reassure people “we haven’t forgotten about ground waters and springs and that sort of thing, coastal systems.”

Member James Sullivan, executive director of Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch, added that the document should be clearer that the focus isn’t exclusively Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

“It’s not just Lake Okeechobee,” Sullivan said.

Thomas Frazer, Florida’s chief science officer, said the document addresses waters beyond the South Florida ecosystems, but agreed to highlight a statewide focus in a brief introduction.

Overall, Frazer said the document is aimed at providing “high-level, but informative recommendations” for lawmakers, who begin the 60-day legislative session on Jan. 14, and it shouldn’t be viewed as the panel’s final product.

“We fully intended to delve into a broad suite of related topics moving down the road and expect we will have many more recommendations,” Frazer said. “I want to let people rest their mind a little bit that this is not the final product from this body.”

Among the future topics will be water reuse, biosolids, fertilizers in urban landscapes and how herbicides are used.

DeSantis created the task force through a January executive order after outbreaks of toxic algae and red tide across the state last year. The problems particularly drew attention in Southeast and Southwest Florida, as algae plagued water bodies such as the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and as red tide caused fish kills.

The document declares that blue-green algae blooms are expected to grow because of regional land-use changes that will impact local hydrology and through “increases in temperature and pronounced variability in precipitation patterns.”

After a brief introduction, several steps aimed at reducing toxic algae blooms are proposed, including an investment in technologies focused on the clean-up of blue-green algae blooms; broader regulatory oversight of septic systems; taking steps to reduce sewer overflows in coastal areas from sea-level rise and more-frequent rainfall events; and a renewed investment in a statewide comprehensive water-quality monitoring strategy.

Comments

Eventually buses are going to be replaced with self-driving vehicles that you summon with a phone app by telling it your required destination and latest acceptable arrival time. A central computer will coordinate vehicles for maximum efficiency. Service will exist on demand wherever it's needed. https://bit.ly/2SAumxa

Richard Nixon was the last Republican who had even the slightest interest in any environmental issues.

You should use your real name, Pinocchio, when you post.

Thank the Lord that "Jerry" isn't twins (or contageous)!

The need to change a lot of septic systems to better tech that doesn't pollute...………... These are low tech, low cost and a lot cheaper than a sewer system and it's monthly bills forever......……...Plus in the near future concentrated urine, solid wasted will be valuable many of these deliver as outputs collected 1/yr or so...………….Without water human wastes is very small...………...Next is just tell all polluters including big sugar they can't release polluted water anymore and clean it up themselves, not the tax payers...……...…..Then have pollution teams running up very river, stream, lake in Florida...……..All our rivers use to be clear to the bottom and in our financial interests to make them that way again...…...…..And make those that pollute, pay for it......…...…. Dredge a lot of the slit, remove cattails, etc to remove nutrients from the system and harvest fish , etc for the same reason...............…….These low cost ways with som others could clean our rivers, lakes in 20 yrs...…….Or these same waters can become poison factories driving people, tourists, etc from our state...…………..The question is will 'conservatives' be actually conservative and do these?

Very simple. But most of today's Republicans just don't get it. Too much thinking and logic involved.

...says a democRAT with two brain cells.

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