TAMPA BAY TIMES: Red Tide and Lake Okeechobee’s blue-green algae ruined the dreams of my brother, the fishing guide, and literally worried him to death

Tampa Bay Times: Written by David Futch. November 2, 2018.


The official word is that my brother died of a sudden cardiac arrest.

But I’m blaming Florida’s toxic algae release of blue-green goo from Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf of Mexico. It broke my brother’s heart.

My brother was Mark Futch, a premier tarpon fishing guide from Boca Grande, hailed throughout Florida for leading a successful campaign to outlaw fishing equipment that was killing tarpon, a large game fish that is inedible but sought after for sport and its renowned leaping ability. But when the purposeful release of toxic algae hit the Gulf of Mexico, killing everything in its path, including Mark’s charter fishing business, his heart just couldn’t take it.

Continue reading "Red Tide and Lake Okeechobee’s blue-green algae ruined the dreams of my brother, the fishing guide, and literally worried him to death"


MIAMI HERALD: Matt Caldwell is sweet on Big Sugar. He shouldn’t be Florida’s agriculture commissioner.

Miami Herald: Written by Carl Hiassen. November 2, 2018.

Last week, there were more buzzards than tourists on some of the beaches in Indian River County.

The birds flocked there to eat the rotting fish that had died from the acrid outbreak of red tide. Officials had closed the public beaches because of the stink and respiratory threat, but naturally a few curious humans went to take pictures and videos.

Buzzards are, in their own ominous way, photogenic.


This year’s onset of red tide has plagued Florida shores from the upper Gulf to the Atlantic. In some communities lifetime residents have never seen anything so bad.

Continue reading "Matt Caldwell is sweet on Big Sugar. He shouldn’t be Florida’s agriculture commissioner."


WASHINGTON POST: Florida’s Senate race was Rick Scott’s to lose, but he is haunted by his environmental record

Washington Post: Written by Darryl Fears and Lori Rozsa. October 30, 2018.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — Molly E. Bowen was raised Republican by her Republican mom on this sliver of crescent coast. In a GOP stronghold where Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 2 to 1, she proudly voted for Donald Trump two years ago.

Yet she won’t be voting Republican in Florida’s U.S. Senate race. The environment is among her top concerns, and she is not impressed with Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is running for Senate as his tenure comes to an end after two terms.

“Good riddance,” Bowen said. “I’m going to vote ‘no party affiliation,' and everyone else should, too.”

Continue reading "Florida’s Senate race was Rick Scott’s to lose, but he is haunted by his environmental record"


WTSP: Scientists say Florida can avoid future red tide disasters but special interests might be in the way

WTSP: Written by WTSP Staff. October 31, 2018.

It has not been a good year for Florida's beaches. Red tide has killed thousands of tons of marine life. It has cost taxpayers millions of dollars in clean up efforts. It's making Floridians sick, and it's not over yet.

Red tide is a natural algae bloom made much worse by human activity.

"We're feeding algae blooms with tons of fertilizer," Peter Girard from Bullsugar.org, an environmental group, said. "That is not natural."

Continue reading "Scientists say Florida can avoid future red tide disasters but special interests might be in the way"


PALM BEACH POST: Conservationist: Florida is ‘poster child’ for challenges

Palm Beach Post: Written by Hannah Morse. October 28, 2018.

The state of conservation in Florida — and the U.S., as well as the entire world — is complicated and intertwined, says biologist, conservationist and TV personality Jeff Corwin.

Speaking with reporters at an evening reception at Loggerhead Marinelife Center — before his keynote speech for at the 10th annual Go Blue Awards held at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach — Corwin said it is hard to address one issue with out addressing the other. That includes problems like climate change, habitat loss and pollution — but also successes like reintroducing nesting populations to an area after a century.

“Florida is the poster child for conservation challenges because everyone feels Florida will always be Florida,” Corwin said.

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THE ECOLOGIST: Restoring Florida’s dammed waterways

The Ecologist: Written by Drew Maglio. October 22, 2018.

Another sweltering summer descended upon Southern Florida in 2018, bringing with it a toxic green plague - yet again.

Expansive algae blooms have become a bi-annual occurrence in recent times marring both of Florida’s once pristine coasts, but there has never been a lost summer like 2018. It is now October and “red tide” still lingers on Florida’s West Coast, while simultaneously closing beaches on the East Coast.

Florida's ecosystems have been largely destroyed over the last hundred years due to haphazard development of the state, which disregarded (and continues to disregard) potential repercussions.

Continue reading "Restoring Florida’s dammed waterways"

 


WPTV: Scientists suspect water spilling into Gulf from Lake Okeechobee is intensifying the red tide crisis

WPTV: Written by Ashleigh Walters. October 23, 2018.

Scientists are searching for answers as two different toxins, red tide and algae blooms, pose concerns on both coasts of Florida.

Sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and hundreds of thousands of fish have washed ashore dead on Florida’s Gulf Coast and littered the east coast of the state across the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast.

Meanwhile, rivers and canals have been stained green with stinky, toxic algae formed from blooms on Lake Okeechobee.

“It’s the perfect storm of a nightmare that won’t seem to go away,” explained boat captain Chris Wittman.

Wittman was born and raised on the San Carlos Bay near Fort Myers. He’s on a mission to save the waterways, ferrying scientists who are searching for the source of pollution that’s killing marine life. They want to know why the toxins are more intense and lasting longer than in past years.

Continue reading "Scientists suspect water spilling into Gulf from Lake Okeechobee is intensifying the red tide crisis"


Mast, DeSantis Urge South Florida Water Management District To Delay Decision On Extension Of EAA Southern Storage Reservoir Land Lease

image001.jpg

November 7, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Brad Stewart, 202-306-3149

Brad.Stewart@mail.house.gov 

Mast, DeSantis Urge South Florida Water Management District To Delay Decision On Extension Of EAA Southern Storage Reservoir Land Lease

Stuart, FL – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) and Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis tonight issued the following statement after learning that the South Florida Water Management District plans to hold a vote tomorrow, November 8, 2018, on extending the land lease with New Hope Sugar Company, a subsidiary of Florida Crystals, for land authorized to be used for the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir: 

“Given that the current lease does not expire until March and because we did not receive enough advance notice on this proposed vote to ensure that this extension would not delay construction of the EAA Southern Storage Reservoir, we urge the South Florida Water Management District to delay their planned vote tomorrow.  The EAA Southern Storage Reservoir is a critical component of Everglades Restoration and our joint efforts to prevent harmful algal blooms.  We will not support any lease extension that could delay the construction of the reservoir in direct contradiction of the intention of both the United States Congress and Florida Legislature.”

BACKGROUND:

The South Florida Water Management District Meeting agenda can be found here.  The proposed lease extension can be found here.  

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News Journal: Ag commissioner nominees Caldwell, Fried face off over medical marijuana, water

Daytona Beach News Journal: Written by Jim Turner. October 21, 2018.

Her Republican opponent, state Rep. Matt Caldwell, was questioned about his support for a bill that delayed for 20 years an unmet deadline to reduce nutrients flowing into Lake Okeechobee.

Fried and Caldwell — running in the Nov. 6 election to replace term-limited Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and head the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services — engaged in a fast-paced debate Sunday during the show “Facing South Florida” on CBS Miami.

Continue reading "Ag commissioner nominees Caldwell, Fried face off over medical marijuana, water"


How Red and Green Slime (Really) Could Swing Florida’s Senate Race

Politico: Written by Michael Grunwald. October 14, 2018.

John Moran is a Florida nature photographer, but lately he sees himself as a Florida crime photographer. The crime, he likes to say, is the slime.

Moran has chronicled the blooms of toxic algae that have shrouded the peninsula in recent months — the neon guacamole glop that ravaged Lake Okeechobee and the sparkling estuaries of the east coast before oozing its way to the west coast, as well as the rust-colored red tide that massacred millions of fish along the white-sand beaches of the west coast before arriving last week on the east coast. Moran’s images are stomach-churning, yet strangely beautiful.

Continue reading "How Red and Green Slime (Really) Could Swing Florida’s Senate Race"



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