Our Common Enemy, Toxic Algae, SLR/IRL

Rocks and algae, Lake O 7-26-17

Definition: caught between a rock and a hard place

“to be in a very difficult situation and to have to make a hard decision”

“State Says Blue-Green Algae in Lake Okeechobee is Not Toxic,”
WPTV, link 7-26-17: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-okeechobee-county/state-says-blue-green-algae-in-lake-okeechobee-is-not-toxic

The fact that Lake Okeechobee, the St Lucie River, and other water bodies of our state are in such poor condition puts the state of Florida “between a rock and a hard place.” After all, for centuries just saying the word “Florida” conjured up visions paradise…
Early rendition of the Everglades area including the rivers of the SLR/IRL. (Thurlow Collection.)
Cyanobacteria, that often becomes “toxic algae,” is bad for business. In fact, perhaps nothing is worse for business. It is also bad for people’s health. Hmm? How does the state report toxic algae and fulfill their responsibility for safety without scaring people away? And without hurting business?

The answer is of course that “you really can’t…” But you can be honest and take leadership. You can turn a bad situation into a good one, because after all, a very powerful force of human nature is a common enemy.

Cyanobacteria, toxic algae, is our common enemy.  For ALL of us.

The state has known that Lake Okeechobee has been eutrophic (prone to algae blooms) since at least the 1960s–the time of my birth. Early documentation from the state Geological Societies and Water Management Districts clearly documented the over nutrification of the lake, due to agriculture and development’s run-off exacerbated by channelization of rivers, lakes, the draining of lands, later the spreading of bio-solids (treated human waste) on fields, and a population explosion.

It is time to start diligently approaching the reporting of algae blooms and tracking their sources. There is a lot of area to cover; we can’t just test from the side of the road. Algae is living and changing and morphing every second. It is worth the investment to monitor it for what it is, an enemy.  24 hours a day…

Area of Lake O algae bloom, 7-21-17.

Dept. of Environmental Protection, algae sites reported and tested: http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=60d6ebf175f44ac1b7e51c00185883b4&extent=-88.8794,23.6596,-75.3882,32.9764

DEP’s warning to the public regarding algae blooms in water bodies: http://www.floridahealth.gov/newsroom/2017/07/072117-dep-and-doh-algal-blooms.html

Visit Florida’s words on algae blooms, toxic algae and cyanobacteria: http://www.visitflorida.org/resources/crisis-preparation/blue-green-algae-information/


Lake O shoreline, 7-26-17

6 thoughts on “Our Common Enemy, Toxic Algae, SLR/IRL

  1. Jacqui,

    Thank you for your efforts on the algae problem, it amazes me that this is so vital to Florida’s future and yet treated by the EPA and politicians will little concern through the years, hoping it would solve itself. it good to hear about the new plan for redirecting the flow ro a reservoir, but in the mean timee this is still a major problem and we are seeing it in other states as well. I seen a company with a proposal that can oxidize the water with zero chemicals and did it at Outboard Marina in Martin County, the process worked yet as usual the EPA thumb their nose and has done nothing. How do you fight the EPA.

    Thanks for your hard work and dedication


    On Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 10:57 AM, Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch wrote:

    > Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch posted: ” Definition: caught between a rock and a > hard place “to be in a very difficult situation and to have to make a hard > decision” “State Says Blue-Green Algae in Lake Okeechobee is Not Toxic,” > WPTV, link 7-26-17: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-okeech” >

  2. Mike — They used h202 (hydrogen peroxide) to clean water up. Hydrogen Peroxide and calcium peroxide is why our beachs are allways so clean. Seaweed heaps up on our beachs and the acid(in sea weed) reacts with the calcium sand cleaning any toxic chemicals. the same process went on in our lagoon and other estuaries but millions of people takeing and takeing and never putting back has exterminated most species of creatures. The lies and false accusations seem to never end.

  3. Sadly, remedial efforts such as the “cleaning” process done at Rio’s Outboards Only may have resulted in workers being able to return to work outside at that boat basin, however more than one leading expert on toxic blue-green algae witnessed the process and said he was horrified that the health dept. here allowed it. In effect, the vacuuming and then the aerosolizing of that toxic bloom water sent spores for quite a distance downwind in that vicinity. We know now that the microscystin toxins are taken in by breathing it. Many residents there complained of respiratory distress afterward. Additionally, experts discourage the “disturbance of” algae mats–that is what can cause the release of microcystin toxins.

    We need to concentrate on preventing the discharge of the toxic blooms into our waterway from the Lake rather than relying on “clean up.”

    1. I wholeheartedly agree: the aeration of the cyanobacteria was horrendous – with Brian Mast looking on. They must not have known what they were actually doing. Let’s all keep up the heat on the politicos…my gratitude to JTL for her dedication.

  4. Mike C.— the toxins are in your waterways NOW. They are preserved in carbonic acid. Even the planes in this blog release tons of carbon dioxide and when this comes in contact with clouds and rain it turns to carbonic acid. like the bug spray in a can these toxins will “keep” forever until the acid is neutrilized. This cleaning cycle went on for thousands of years and stopped when they removed all the calcium carbonate from our lagoons shore to pave roads and make cement to build towns.Thank you Jacqui for letting me tell it like it is on your blog

Leave a Reply to AnonymousCancel reply