ORLANDO SENTINEL: Florida coastal environments are collapsing

Orlando Sentinel: Written by Kevin Spear. March 4, 2018.

Central Florida's Indian River Lagoon, North Florida's Apalachicola Bay and a trio of coastal estuaries in South Florida are in the throes of ecosystem collapses that threaten sea grass, fisheries, recreation and local economies.

What's to blame? A historic toll of chronic pollution and crippled drainage has been compounded by drought in recent years and El Niño downpours this winter.

The troubled environments are far apart, but their stories are similar and even intertwined.

Health of the Indian River Lagoon along Volusia and Brevard County was mauled earlier this decade by "super blooms" of green algae and an infestation of brown algae.

The onslaught killed a combined area of sea grass twice as large as Titusville and was linked to deaths of manatees, dolphins and pelicans.

After a lull, algae is smothering the lagoon again, but the timing is unusual; such rampant algae ordinarily occurs in summer.

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