Join Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani with special guest Professor James Douglass from Florida Gulf Coast University on the Estero Bay tributaries as they talk water quality and conditions.
Florida’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force is meeting again, after a several-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group is made up of scientists from around the state who make recommendations to lawmakers with the goal of eventually cleaning up the state’s ailing waterways.
Catch up with John Cassani and all things water quality in this episode of Words from the Waterkeeper. Updates on the significant Lake Okeechobee algae bloom along with fecal bacteria contamination in local waterways and shellfish harvesting restrictions from FDACS.
New research provides some of the best information yet about how these harmful algal blooms could impact our health. It’s all hands on deck to tackle Southwest Florida’s water crisis, and that includes James Metcalf, Ph.D., with Brain Chemistry Labs in Wyoming.
Multiple Blooms, Multiple Toxins, Multiple Worries: New Study Sheds Light on 2018’s Disastrous Algae Crisis in Florida
Those who lived through 2018’s summer knew Southwest Florida’s water was bad, but a new peer-reviewed scientific study helps clarify how bad. The paper shows residents were exposed to a mix of potentially dangerous toxins at the same time, as a one-two punch of algae blooms left the economy reeling and residents sickened.
In 2018, releases of cyanobacterial-laden freshwater from Lake Okeechobee transported a large bloom of Microcystis cyanobacteria down the Caloosahatchee. Analysis of water samples showed high concentrations of microcystin-LR, sufficient to result in adverse human and animal health effects if ingested.
Four Florida Waterkeepers sent a letter to the governor and DOH saying the state is not doing enough to protect the public from toxic algae blooms. “We asked them previously to work on cyanobacteria signage and standards and the task force developed a consensus,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani.
Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani talks water temperatures in the mid to high 90s in back bays which is creating hypoxic conditions. Plus, an update on the Lake Okeechobee cyanobacteria bloom, and a massive trichodesmium bloom along the Sarasota County coastline.
Florida Department of Health Fails to Consistently Notify Residents of Health Risks from Toxic Blue-Green Algae
After massive and recurring blue-green algae blooms in Florida waters that resulted in multiple “states of emergency” issued by then-Governor Rick Scott in 2016 and 2018, the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) is still unable to consistently warn the public of the toxic blooms.
Environmental groups across the state are challenging the bill recently signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis that is supposed to help clean up Florida’s ailing waterways. Critics of the bill say it fails to advance Florida’s water quality standards and regulations and is actually worse than having no new water laws at all.
Over the past several months, the agency that protects Florida’s environment has juggled several major pollution incidents in Fort Myers. The troubles have come from causes ranging from inadequately protected construction sites to aging infrastructure including a 193,000-gallon sewage spill in March.
Recent satellite imagery shows a shrinking blue-green algae bloom covering less than half of Lake Okeechobee, with the densest patches being concentrated along the northwest shore. However, it’s still too early in the summer to know whether or not a major bloom will manifest this year.