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Politics

Supercharged Waters from North of Lake 'O' Devastating to Florida's Coral Reefs

July 19, 2019 - 9:00am
Key West's coral die-off
Key West's coral die-off

The evidence is undeniable: Some 97 percent of the water coming into Lake Okeechobee from the north -- particularly from the Kissimmee area -- show the lake's contaminated water originates on the highly developed northwest side of the Everglades' headwaters. And this has been devastating to so much of  Florida life, particularly to our too-lightly regarded coral reefs.

On the heels of a landmark 30-year study of ailing Florida Keys coral, the Florida Chamber of Commerce on Thursday released the latest in its series of educational water videos showing nutrient-supercharged water from as far north as Orlando contributes significantly to the harmful impacts on our coral reefs.
 
The just-released coral research, and the Florida Chamber’s 11th in a series of educational water videos, were led by top FAU-Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Research Professor Brian Lapointe, Ph.D.
 
“When it comes to securing Florida’s future, there are few issues more important than water,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “With 4.5 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, science-based data is key to meeting the challenges Florida faces.”
 
The educational water video, also features water and environmental leaders:
  • Dale Gawlik, PH.D., Professor and Director of Environmental Science, Florida Atlantic University

  • Nyla Pipes, Executive Director, One Florida Foundation

  • Tommy Strowd, P.E., Director of Operations & Maintenance, Lake Worth Drainage District

  • Newton Cook, President, United Waterfowlers Florida

  • Jeff Couch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

  • Bill Louda, PH.D., Research Professor, Florida Atlantic University

  • Marty McKenna, citrus grower

The latest video was released in connection with the Florida Chamber’s Environmental Permitting Summer School, happening this week in Marco Island.
 
Click HERE to view the entire series of educational water videos.
 
To learn more about the latest coral research, visit the Palm Beach Post, National Public Radio, the Key West Citizen, UPI and the journal Marine Biology.

Comments

nice

If one looks at the real data on how much pollution is coming from different drainage basins...the upper Kissimmee basin isn't really as much of a polluter as any of the other basins are if one goes by pollution levels in the water itself. Now water VOLUME is a different matter. The upper Kissimmee basin where Orlando and Kissimmee are is one of the biggest contributors of freshwater to the inflows into Lake O. That water from the upper Kissimmee basin flows through the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes from Lake Tohopekaliga down to Lake Kissimmee. None of those lakes have a pollution problem. No cyanobacteria blooms in them. The TP level in that water is about 60 ppb on average. The FDEP wishes that was the level of TP flowing into Lake O. But it isn't. Lake O. has an average TP level in the water column of 140 ppb. And it keeps increasing each year. So...think about this...isn't it obvious that most of the pollution itself...is coming from the drainage basins where agriculture is the predominant activity?...Like the lower Kissimmee basin. And especially the Taylor Creek-Nubbins Slough basin. Lots of Legacy P coming out of the soil from those areas from dairy farms in the past and beef cattle ranches that add biosolids to their pastures to create 'improved' pasture for their cattle to graze on. The citrus groves and vegetable farms and sod farms...are also the polluters. It isn't Orlando/Kissimmee. Just look at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes...Then use your head.

Another person who craps and flushes his toilet and acts like it magically disappears and blames everyone or thing he hates for the pollution. Do you grow your own food in your garden without fertilizer? I will put my money on NO and you probably have never provided your own food of any kind. Do some real research and realize you contribute also.

Actually I do grow a lot of my own food some years. I didn't put in a winter vegetable garden last winter but I have grown lots of stuff near my septic tank drainfield year after year. From mustard greens to scallions to broccoli to turnip greens to green beans to tomatoes and eggplants. Right now I have a huge 'crop' of dragon fruits developing on the climbing cactus that is growing all up and down my coconut palm. The dang ambrosia beetles and fungus killed my beautiful avocado tree that used to supply me with avocados so abundantly. And the squirrels of course. I get red mulberry fruit and black mulberry fruit from trees in my yard. I have pear trees and one apple tree (Anna variety) and I used to have peach and nectarine trees...all adapted for Florida zone 9-10... But yeah, I also buy stuff at grocery stores. Like spinach leaves and red potatoes and green beans and cabbages and almond milk and potato chips and cheese and sliced turkey meat and sometimes boneless chicken *** or thighs. No red meat or pork in a long time. I'd go strictly fish as meat if I could start catching fish in my estuary here in Stuart like I used to. Maybe that can happen again soon.

Oh, I forgot to mention my Moringa tree. Look that up via google. The leaves from a Moringa tree are a good substitute for spinach leaves. That grows right next to my septic tanks and it is a nitrogen fixing plant, a legume like peanuts are...So I'm pretty sure my heavily vegetated yard full of trees and no lawn...is sucking up more nutrients from the surrounding area than my septic tank and drainfield is putting into the groundwater. I'd bet on it.

It'll take drastic and expensive measures to attempt to correct the problem - and the Republicans will never do it.

Another person who craps and flushes his toilet and acts like it magically disappears and blames everyone or thing he hates for the pollution. Do you grow your own food in your garden without fertilizer? I will put my money on NO and you probably have never provided your own food of any kind. Do some real research and realize you contribute also.

And so says that notoriously "chuckling", anti-Republican "Nabob of Negativism": "VD2020"...(sounds suspiciously like a disease,... Doesn't it Folks?!?)

And just like that, an idiot democRAT blows out a lie to try to make the issue political.

It IS a political issue. Look what 20 years of Republican control has brought us. Especially the last 8 years under Scott. Growth, the fast buck, more houses, more people, clogged roadways, deregulation, slashing of environmental staff at WMDs are in style, while protecting our water and beaches for public use is not. Finally DeSantis is trying to turn it around. Big Sugar cleverly tries to finger all those folks in the Villages by blaming the waters above the lake. No doubt warmer weather is contributing, hottest June on record. Regulations to protect the environment put in place by Democrats, swept aside by those in a rush to fill their own pockets. If you are a Republican and you care about the environment, then step up. It's going to take political will to fix it. Climate change is NOT a hoax, no matter what Big Oil tells you.

If DeSantis is so great for the environment why did he sign the bill to start the parkway from I-4 to Lee County? The route takes it right through some of the largest continuous natural Florida left in South Central Florida. He signed because developers want to develop all along that route and need an expressway type road so the commute is faster than driving the secondary roads. Do you believe he is great because he appointed one of the largest developers in Florida to the S. FL Water Management Board? Quit drinking the kool-aid DeSantis is no friend of Florida. So called "big sugar" is a red herring created by Disney and others around the Orlando area because they don't want to be financially responsible to clean and dispose of their water. I'm looking forward to your answers.

If DeSantis is so great for the environment why did he sign the bill to start the parkway from I-4 to Lee County? The route takes it right through some of the largest continuous natural Florida left in South Central Florida. He signed because developers want to develop all along that route and need an expressway type road so the commute is faster than driving the secondary roads. Do you believe he is great because he appointed one of the largest developers in Florida to the S. FL Water Management Board? Quit drinking the kool-aid DeSantis is no friend of Florida. So called "big sugar" is a red herring created by Disney and others around the Orlando area because they don't want to be financially responsible to clean and dispose of their water.

Another person who craps and flushes his toilet and acts like it magically disappears and blames everyone or thing he hates for the pollution. Do you grow your own food in your garden without fertilizer? I will put my money on NO and you probably have never provided your own food of any kind. Do some real research and realize you contribute also.

I hope those who spend their life determining the truth of how to we can successfully stop the degradation of our waters are the ones making the decisions about what programs work and are able to get them funded. When it comes to such a hot topic that needs calm minds to decide and do what is necessary for the good of all of us, I thank you for what you are doing. To those who would deceive us for personal gain, whether it is money or power or both, shame on you. Hopefully, with increased transparency in vogue currently, truth will prevail.

It’s hard to trust any ‘authority’ with hidden agendas. The list is here, in this article.

Uhhhh....NO... South Florida it's all the street and prescription drugs you ingest, inject, and smoke then you whizz it out into the toilet. That's what is killing Florida's Coral Reefs. Then you sanctimonious idiots have the gall to blaim hard working ranchers and farmers north of Lake O. SHUT UP. And don't get me started on your poop...just where do you idiots think your drug laced whizz and poop go? It goes to Florida's Coral Reefs you idiots!!! Other than that you all have a good weekend down there in South Florida. And quit eating so much so you quit pooping so much you porkies...do it for Florida's Coral Reefs!!!

Amen Colt !!!!!!! My previous post on the subject.........Another person who craps and flushes his toilet and acts like it magically disappears and blames everyone or thing he hates for the pollution. Do you grow your own food in your garden without fertilizer? I will put my money on NO and you probably have never provided your own food of any kind. Do some real research and realize you contribute also.

Gee Whizz, you sound angry

The post is a little misleading. Yes, there is some pollution coming from the highly developed areas north of lake O. However, you neglected to mention the other highly fertilized agricultural areas north and south of lake O, involving the top two consumers of fertilizer and surface runoff in the state by far, Big Sugar and the Citrus industries. They are 1 and 2 in fertilizer use and subsequent runoff in the state, and it is not even remotely close to the next highest abusers (they consume 87% of all fertilizer and runoff used in the state). Number 3 is all other agriculture at only 9%. the other issue is the fact that lake O is already severely polluted from years and years of runoff and pollution with some experts putting their fertilizer contaminate levels at 30-40 times the recommended amounts for the lake. Don't forget the current legislature and former Gov. Scott's deregulation of the septic tanks in the state. They used to have to be inspected annually with assurance they were not leaking and the drain fields were intact. That is no longer the case. Sometimes it is best to have all of the facts and figures, instead of just some targeted facts describing the problems...and now you have the rest of the story...

Get your facts straight please. Agriculture has their soils tested and utilize efficient amounts of needed nutrients to save money so they can afford to use fertilizer. On the other hand commercial and residential turf grasses are fertilized without test and chemicals are applied in excessive amounts to get fast results for visual appeal. This happens for 90 percent of the residential and commercial properties. Think about all the fertilizer the big boxes sell and realize all the residential people using 6 bags on their yard when 2-3 bags would have been appropriate, and the professional applied chemicals and fertilizer over applied to make customers happy and not complain. Next time you drive in the country (burning fossil fuels of course ) compare the color green of the grass in most of the grazing land to all the grass color in your gated community and realize what you see. Now, think about all the gated subdivisions or upscale areas including hotels and think about the pollution contributed there also. SHARE THE BLAME !!!!!!!!

You saw my numbers and they were clearly displayed. A simple Google search is all it would take to verify. You provided nothing, zilch, nada...except your wild stories about 5 or 6 bags per yard. Let's see your research or stats to support that. THEY DON'T EXIST! I use a quarter bag each quarter. Anyone who uses more than that would have nothing left but burnt earth dumbo. Don't like my facts or argument. Prove me wrong. It is a simple Google search and then we'll never here from you again, dufus...

So you are another IDIOT who believes everything on google and you using a quarter of a 40 or 50 pound bag on your yard once a quarter sounds totally made up unless your yard is only 30x30. You have no clout in my book of real life experiences. You are just another snowflake living in mommies basement.

You do know the U of F determined that sugar cane farming removes PERMANENTLY about 20 lbs of Phosphorus per acre per crop? Anyone telling you sugar cane farming pollutes the EAA is either ignorant or putting out false information. The farmers add about 5 lbs of Phosphorus per acre to supplement the P in the muck soil and Lake water if needed for irrigation. When the caneis harvested about 25lbs of P is taken out of the Glades. The processed cane is burned to make electricity or sent to a paper mill to make biodegradable paper products. The EAA farmers are the only stakeholders meeting the assigned BMPS. EAA runoff sits in the WCAs with 90% at the Federal mandate of 10 ppb P or less. The only water from Orlando to the Tamiami Trail meeting the Federal mandate. Ready to flow south towards Florida Bay. Who is telling you the EAA farmers are “polluting” the Everglades? Obviously either ignorant or lying.

just Google it newby, there is no regs on it at all. They are supposed to use the honor system...baahaahaa...

Another idiot who just relies on google. You probably are the type of person who just calls the guy to fix everything and has no common sense. Newton gave you information to use and if you really understood the environment you would see it is possible. Do some real research and get off the liberal pages. Remember you only have 12 Years to complete this task before it is to late so chop chop.

The WATERSHED identifies the location of the contributing issues. Now the cause of the issues must be addressed. Say good-bye to green lawns. Embrace the native species. The Mississippi watershed needs to be looked at closely. It covers the "Breadbasket" to the world and lots of chemicals are used on those lands.....What's the relationship to the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zones and the problems we are having with decreasing marine life and increasing bacterial and algae issues along the west coast?

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