Time to Act on Causes of Toxic Algae

SJRWMD boblisa In: Time to Act on Causes of Toxic Algae | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River
Dr. Bob Knight and Lisa Rinaman advocating at a rally at SJRWMD headquarters to stop an unnecessary and devastating pumping permit for Silver Springs. Dr. Knight is the director of Florida Springs Institute of High Springs, which provides sound, unbiased science for the Santa Fe River and other North Florida water bodies. Lisa Rinaman has been the St Johns RiverKeeper for many years and has fought long and hard for that river. Photo by Jim Tatum.

Until Florida officials find the political will to tackle these big problems, massive algae blooms are probably going to be a fact of life. And spot solutions will never make up for the damage Floridians are doing to their own water bodies.

Spot on, indeed.  The term “political will” is one I hope we hear more and more often, as that is the key, with all the implications of knowing the solution but fearing to take on the polluters.

We recently posted on Dr. Shortelle’s commentary on yet another expensive non-solution which treats symptoms but not causes.

Unsaid here is the fact that Florida’s waters face even more problems than algae, these being the constant decline caused by extreme over-pumping.  Reducing  the nitrates from fertilizer and septics is critical but we also must stop excessive pumping.

 

 

Read the complete article here in the Gainesville Sun.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
jim.tatum@oursantaferiver.org
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


Editorial Daytona Beach News Journal   Time to Act on Causes of Toxic Algae

Monday, July 12, 2021

Florida’s environmental leaders pick their battles when it comes to the micro-organisms that threaten the state’s water bodies. Ann Shortelle, executive director of the St. Johns River Water Management District,  says she’s justifiably happy with an experimental project that targets an aggressive, toxic form of freshwater algae that is, once again, showing up in Florida rivers and lakes.

Things are going so well, Shortelle says, that the treatment will be made available to managers of afflicted water bodies across the state. And that’s good news. Florida needs effective weapons against biological threats to its water bodies — especially ones such as blue-green algae which can cause nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, skin problems and even neurological problems in humans and can be fatal to pets.

The system being tested in Lake County’s Lake Minneola uses a form of hydrogen peroxide that breaks down as it kills off the harmful algae. It doesn’t disrupt the natural defenses of a lake or river — in fact, scientists expect it to boost healthier forms of algae that can help fight off a resurgence of the toxic strain. It sounds great. It is great.

But it’s not enough. Blue-green algae isn’t the only microorganism that threatens Florida waters. It’s not even the worst: Red tides and brown tides — also triggered by noxious microorganisms — can kill thousands of tons of marine life including dolphins and manatees in a single season, and smother scenic waterways with thick mats of stinking, guacamole-like goop. Scientists believe algae, when dried out, can aerosolize into particles that can travel miles inland and could be linked to a wide range of health problems in people who never go near the water.

And while the technology being deployed in Lake Minneola holds promise, it’s a treatment, not a cure. While noxious algae strains are part of Florida’s ecosystem, they’re not meant to overwhelm water bodies the way they have been doing several times in recent decades. The toxic tides are a clear sign of distress, and there’s little doubt that human activity is to blame.

Florida leaders get it. They’re just not willing to take the toughest steps needed to clean things up.

They are willing to throw some money at it but it’s not nearly enough to tackle the big problems that face Florida’s algae-plagued water bodies — most of which track back to an excess of nitrogen and phosphorus leaching into water bodies. These come from two main sources: fertilizer that washes off agricultural fields and lawns, and wastewater leaching from failing septic tanks and malfunctioning sewer systems….

Until Florida officials find the political will to tackle these big problems, massive algae blooms are probably going to be a fact of life. And spot solutions will never make up for the damage Floridians are doing to their own water bodies.

o

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top
Skip to content