Lake County has started an Adopt-a-lake program, the Orlando Sentinel says. People can sign up to adopt a lake, taking water samples, cleaning up litter and the like. Volunteers are trained.
I think this is brilliant! More counties should invite citizens to adopt bodies of water.
We pay a lot of attention to the Everglades restoration and perhaps not enough attention to other important restoration projects in Florida, like the Indian River Lagoon and the Kissimmee River. This Orlando Sentinel article reminds us the Kissimmee River restoration is ongoing, and points out that studying the river’s inhabitants is a good way to assess pollution in the river. The restoration project will cost more than a half-billion dollars and take until at least 2012, the article says.
Image from Florida Department of Environmental Protection
It’s ironic that while the state of Florida has named this Pollution Prevention Week, the EPA came out with a report today that says the Everglades are still polluted with too much phosphorus and mercury, according to the Miami Herald (and other news sources). The EPA study says it sees some progress, but that farms, development and Lake Okeechobee are still sending too much phosphorus into the ‘Glades. And mercury levels in fish still aren’t where they should be.
Guess it’s a good thing the state recently put a limit on fertilizer components.
If you thought the lower St. Johns River wasn’t dirty enough, a wastewater treatment plant is accused of spilling millions of gallons of junky stuff into the river. Even if it turns out not to be true, just the thought … ew.
The St. Johns Riverkeeper and the Public Trust Environmental Law Institute of Florida have accused Jacksonville utility JEA of violating the Clean Water Act and dumping sewage and wastewater into the St. Johns River, this article reports. The environmental groups are suing JEA to develop a plan to improve its facilities, but JEA said it has already spent $800M on improvements, according to the article. The groups have also claimed the state Department of Environmental Protection is to blame for allowing 8.3M gallons of polluted water into the river, but the DEP claims it has been keeping an eye on JEA. We’ll just have to wait to see how this goes.
Is it just me, or does red tide seem to plague Florida’s southwestern coast every summer? Red tide — the result of naturally occurring algae that increase in number during warm months — kills fish and other sea life, creates breathing problems for some people and drives beachgoers away from the shore.
A new report on red tide by a division of Mote Marine Laboratory takes a detailed look at red tide and what we can do to ease it, according to a Charlotte Sun-Herald article. The article says the report recommends reducing pollution, studying ways to control red tide, looking at ways technology might help red tide, improving how we monitor red tide blooms and improving how we oversee red tide research and management.
Many environmentalists have speculated that red tides have been increasing due to polluted runoff, and while the report apparently maintains that can’t be proven, it says pollution could be a factor — and pollution needs to be addressed anyway, so that’s why reducing pollution is one of the recommendations.
Lake Okeecobee won’t be filled with polluted water by back pumping, the South Florida Water Management District board decided. That’s according to this article, which reports, “…Pumping even less than previous years would add 300 tons of nitrogen and 15 to 20 tons of phosphorus to the lake, the heart of the Everglades and a backup drinking water source for millions. The pumped-in water is farm runoff from drainage canals south of the lake.” Whew! So glad I won’t be drinking that stuff! Aren’t you? Previous posts had me worried.
Instead of filling Lake Okeechobee with polluted water from farms as I blogged about earlier this week, now water managers are considering back-pumping filtered but still somewhat polluted water from the Miami Canal, this Sun-Sentinel article reports. This change is considered a better alternative. The reason for filling the lake with the water is to help out the farms around the lake that depend on the lake’s water for irrigation. But what about our drinking water supply? South Florida Water Management District board members, still weighing the risks, are expected to vote on filling the lake today, the article reports.