Tag Archives: Mike Conner

What Agency is Responsible for Tracking Toxic Algae Blooms in Lake Okeechobee? SLR/IRL

This image shows that an algae bloom was in Lake Okeechobee on April 14, 2015.
This image shows that an algae bloom was in Lake Okeechobee on April 14, 2015.

I must drive to Ft Pierce this morning so I do not have very much time to write– this post will be short and undeveloped, but you’ll get the idea.

Yesterday, I received information from a very reliable person, and it is making me wonder…

“The information” is the image above showing an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee on 4-14-15. I don’t know why it says “unvalidated data,” but if you look at it closely it shows an algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee. I was told this image and an algae report can be found on the “Lake Okeechobee Operations” page of the South Florida Water Management District.

If this is true, and I  believe it is, why didn’t the public or the local governments hear about this bloom before 4-24-15? Also, who is really in charge of this information? Yes, I was told it can be found on the South Florida Water Management’s web site, but then it is the Army Corp of Engineers, a federal agency, that is responsible for opening the S-308 structure at Lake Okeechobee to release water when “necessary” into the C-44/St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon….(The SFWMD is a state agency….ACOE is federal…..)

Are the state and federal agencies talking? Why isn’t the ACOE “in charge of the water” if they dump it? I don’t get it….

The bottom line is the information is “out there.” It was known to both the state and federal agencies that an algae bloom was in Lake Okeechobee before Kenny Hinkle and Mike Connor’s video spurred outrage along the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and the ACOE was contacted by citizens and Senator Joe Negron and made the decision not to open S-308 this past Friday. This has come up in more places than one.

I am happy “they” didn’t open the gate, but I am confused why we didn’t hear about the very large algae bloom earlier.

I don’t get it. Am I naive? Am I becoming a crazy conspiracy theorist? Is this information purposefully not being shared, and if so who is not sharing it?

Is the government above our heads? If so we must change this. We must become in charge of this information for ourselves as it is public’s information paid for by our tax dollars.

I think we must push for a web cam at the gates of the lake that we, the public, can easily access and EASY access to the website that has live maps of algae blooms. As I have stated, I believe this information is here now, but how do we access it?

The information for blooms knows as HABs, or Harmful Algae Blooms, must be EASILY available to all citizens. I believe that the Florida Wildlife Commission, FWC, also had a very developed program and WEBSITE AREA on algae blooms because in the past as I even wrote about it in a previous blog. I seems like their committee kind of died off for some reason….

HABs are a problem all over the world, and they can be spotted with satellite imagery. They should be spotted for all of us. Unfortunately, this is the “now” and this is the future.

In the age of information, you’d think if would be “easier than this,” but is not. We must control our destiny, if we are to protect our lives and our property. The government is not doing this as it should be. They may not even really know this as they have been not doing it for so long….Very, very, sad.

Sorry to ramble, but you get the idea.

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LINKS but where is the answer?

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/pls/portal/portal_apps.repository_lib_pkg.repository_browse?p_keywords=emmaps&p_thumbnails=no)

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_watershed/phytoplankton_bloom_192/tab4960138/lake_okeechobee_algal_bloom_feb%202010%20te.doc)

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/pg_grp_sfwmd_sfer/portlet_prevreport/2012_sfer/v1/chapters/v1_ch8.pdf)

(http://www.sfwmd.gov/portal/page/portal/xrepository/sfwmd_repository_pdf/final_posters_2014_11x17%201.pdf)

An earlier blog on HABs: (https://jacquithurlowlippisch.com/2014/08/28/harmful-algal-blooms-habs-st-lucie-riverindian-river-lagoon/)

 

Will the ACOE “Dump” a Toxic Algae Bloom from Lake Okeechobee Into Our SLR/IRL?

 

Blue-green algae is often toxic.  4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Blue-green algae this bright is usually toxic. This is a photo from just outside of Lake Okeechobee taken yesterday. 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.

Yesterday, a blue-green algae bloom was documented at S-308 just east of Lake Okeechobee/C-44 Port Mayaca, by Kenny Hinkle and Mike Connor: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7CglO2z33E&spfreload=10)

You hear it all the time, and it most things considered, it makes sense: “Flood control…”

The Army Corp of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District “HAVE TO” dump from Lake Okeechobee because when its waters are “too high,” it endangers the people and the farms south of the lake.

But what about us? What the thousands of people who live, fish, and boat along our estuary? Are we protected?

Blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, produces two groups of toxins, neurotoxins and peptide hepatotoxins. Great. Is this what our government should be releasing into our waters? This is a fresh water bacteria and it comes from the lake not the brackish estuary. But after our estuary has been “dumped on” by all the area canals, with an overabundance of fresh water, or an overabundance of water from the lake, the microcytosis  can live here!

Disgusting…

Let’s think about this. 

The first responsibility for any government is the “health, safety and welfare” of its people. That is my responsibility as an elected official in the Town of Sewall’s Point. 

So when circumstances are as they are today, or at least yesterday–and there was documentation of what clearly appears to be a blue-green algae bloom, most likely toxic,  on the eastern side of Lake Okeechobee at S-308, am I supposed to remain quiet? I think not, and nor should you.

The ACOE is scheduled to start dumping  today. I admit, that the ACOE, SFWMD, governor, and legislature are in a difficult position having to  protect one group at the expense of another, but somebody better figure it out.

 

Map of where bloom was located yesterday. (Kenny Hinkle, 4-23-15.)
Map of where bloom was located yesterday. (Kenny Hinkle, 4-23-15.)
Photo 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15, Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15. Kenny Hinkle.
Photo 4-23-15. Kenny Hinkle.

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The dumping of blue-green algae in Lake O  waters is what led to the toxic “Lost Summer” of  2013, and the fish kills and toxic waters of 2005 in the SLR/IRL.

Microcystis: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microcystis_aeruginosa)

ACOE: (http://www.saj.usace.army.mil)