The cause of red tide is under debate again (is it caused or aggravated by pollution runoff, or does it occur naturally?), and this time the culprit is from far away — the Mississippi River, of all things, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Seems nitrogen (runoff) from the mighty river gets blown right across the Gulf of Mexico to southwestern Florida, a NOAA report suggests. The article points out that the Mississippi carried 800,000 metric tons of nitrogen into the gulf last year. (No wonder there’s a “dead zone” at the river’s mouth.)
This is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t explain the red tides on Florida’s eastern shore.
Image from NOAA
I didn’t want to do this, o half of a reader out there. But I have a sick baby who’s not sleeping. And I want to post some interesting environment links but don’t have a lot of time. It was either this, or don’t post at all….
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is thinking about cutting 90 law enforcement positions — including those that patrol manatee speed zones — the same time it’s planning to take manatees off the state’s endangered list. FWC staffers as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations think it’s a bad idea. (BTW, it’s not just about manatee protection. If you get lost out on your boat, it’s bad news for you too.)
Not only that, but budget cuts could affect funding for manatee rehabilitation when the sea cows are found injured.
Weeki Wachee Springs is considered the deepest in the United States at 403 feet. Florida’s springs rock!
Researchers at MIT have been able to recreate red tide in the lab, which could lead to an answer for what causes red tide.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has ruled that lawn fertilizer sold to the public needs to have less nitrogen and phosphorus in the mix in order to improve water quality.
There’s much more I could say on these topics — I hope, another time.
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.