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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Florida Beaches Deal With Red Tide on Gulf, Feces in Miami, green algae

    Florida Beaches Deal With Red Tide on Gulf, Feces in Miami

    It was a rough week for Florida's beaches, with a resurgence of red tide on the Gulf Coast and returning feces-related problems in South Florida.

    Sept. 16, 2018, at 11:06 a.m.


    Florida Beaches Deal With Red Tide on Gulf, Feces in Miami


    CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — It was a rough week for Florida's beaches, with a resurgence of red tide on the Gulf Coast and returning feces-related problems in South Florida.

    Red tide returned to beaches on Saturday along Pinellas County on the Gulf Coast, bringing with it countless dead fish. In South Florida, the Florida Department of Health in Miami last week raised the number of no-swimming alerts to seven beaches because of elevated levels of bacteria that can lead to urinary tract infections and other problems.

    The Tampa Bay Times reports that county employees and contractors worked through the day and night to remove dead sea-life from beaches of Pinellas County.

    "There are just too many to count," said Kelli Levy, director of environmental management for Pinellas County. "They're stacked up."

    Waters on the gulf side at Fort De Soto Park were tea-colored, causing officials at the park to waive entrance fees.

    The water also was discolored at Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille.


    At a foot race in Pass-a-Grille, only about a quarter of the expected crowd — 225 people — showed up for the race. The others stayed away from the smell and respiratory irritation caused by red tide.

    Jenni Schmidt was one of the volunteers who passed out masks to participants since the aroma was so bad.

    "It was hurting my lungs," Schmidt said. "Getting out of the car it just assaulted you."

    The toxic algae bloom overran Florida's southern Gulf Coast this past summer. Red tide is a natural occurrence that happens due to the presence of nutrients in salt water and an organism called a dinoflagellate. This most-recent bloom started in November. The last toxic bloom in the Gulf happened between 2004-2006


    The Miami Herald reports that some South Florida beaches have struggled in recent months with numerous advisories warning swimmers of feces-related problems in the water. Storm water run-off, wildlife, pets and human sewage are common causes for high levels of the bacteria, the Herald reports.

    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...feces-in-miami

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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Cape still reeling from toxic blue-green algae bloom

    Chad Gillis, Fort Myers News-Press
    Published 2:41 p.m. ET Sept. 14, 2018 | Updated 5:53 p.m. ET Sept. 14, 2018


    (Photo: FILE)


    Denise Clements didn't know what blue-green algae was a few months ago.

    She had no idea a cyanobacteria bloom could invade her Cape Coral canal and render her backyard pool and boat dock useless.


    "Most of the time when you come down here you can't breathe," Clements said while walking along her dock Thursday. "You have to run away. So we shut the doors, but it's almost like it's all inside your home."


    Clements is one of thousands of Cape Coral residents who've learned to at least partially cope with the impacts of a blue-green algae outbreak that's plagued the Caloosahatchee River this summer.


    They've had no choice.


    Cape company hopes to algae issues by denitrification. Andrew West, News-Press

    More: Small business owners in Lee suffering from algae crisis press Sen. Nelson for action
    More: Florida algae crisis: Bacteria levels lower at popular Sanibel Causeway beaches
    Toxic algae has festered in south Cape Coral for about two months now.
    The bloom first sprouted on Lake Okeechobee in June and then popped up in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers, which were connected to the lake decades ago to drain the Everglades for farming and development.
    Conditions got worse in July and August.
    Toxic conditions in the river forced health officials to close swimming beaches at places like the Cape Coral Yacht Club, a social hub for this part of the city.
    The seawall behind her house is stained with algae marks, from a baby-blue, chalk-like streak to a guacamole and pea soup green closer to the water's surface.
    Heavy rains Wednesday night pushed the dense algae mats to the bottom of the canal near Clements' home, but the mats started to return Friday, she said.
    The Caloosahatchee River is within sight of her backyard, and the Gulf of Mexico is only a short boat ride away.
    It's the perfect headquarters for a boater or fisher.
    But the only fish she sees nowadays are the dead ones that wash into the canal on high tides.
    Water quality measurements taken in several places along the river this summer showed toxicity levels several times higher than what the federal government deems safe.
    Toxins from the blooms are also being more closely linked by researchers to neurological disorders like ALS and Alzheimer's.
    "For sale" signs line some of the streets in this part of the city.


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    A dead Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle is documented and picked up by a Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation stranding volunteer on the Sanibel Causeway on Thursday 8/2/2018. A suspected red tide outbreak is ravaging parts of Southwest Florida. Andrew West/The News-Press, Andrew West/The News-Press

    More: Lee County asks locals to spend more in areas hard-hit from red tide, algae crisis
    More: Florida algae crisis: Bacteria levels lower at popular Sanibel Causeway beaches
    "My neighbor across the street has had his house up for sale and he said he can't get anybody to come out because of the smell coming out of the canal," Clements said. "There are three on this street that got listed a couple of months ago. I think (owners) are discouraged."
    Paul Drosness is doing more than thinking about it.
    He's finalizing the paperwork this weekend to sell his waterfront house less than a year after buying a new boat for the family.

    "We moved down here from Georgia to go boating, and we’re five minutes from Stump Pass and the sand bars," Drosness said. "We looked forward to going out to the sandbars and setting our chairs up and hanging out."
    Drosness and his wife moved here in 2016 and bought their home in February of 2017.
    Eighteen months later he's selling what he thought would be his forever home.
    "We bought this house and fixed it up from top to bottom, and it was our dream home," Drosness said. "But we’ve had enough. This was our last stop. It was our paradise, but we’re going back to Georgia to buy a lake house."
    Drosness said the combination of the blue-green algae and red tide — a toxic saltwater algae bloom in the Gulf of Mexico and local bays — has made boating impossible to enjoy.
    Cape resident and Calusa Waterkeeper volunteer Jason Pim said conditions are better in the canal near his house than they were in July and August, when onshore winds pushed the bloom into Cape canals.
    But "better," he said, is a relative word.
    "Yesterday it was still pretty darn ugly," Pim said. "I think we’re getting a little bit more salinity in the south Cape (which kills blue-green algae), but definitely not in North Fort Myers yet. I think (the salinity levels have) gone up a tiny, tiny fraction and the water has cleared up a little, but there’s still lots of green stuff everywhere."

    Lee County offering One Lee program in hopes of helping businesses affected by water woes.Andrew West, News-Press

    More: Lee County promoting One Lee program to help those affected by red tide outbreak
    More: Florida algae crisis: Sea turtles still dying; red tide counts very high
    He sometimes wears a mask when cleaning the family boat, hoping to avoid as much long-term exposure as possible.
    Pim said the blue-green algae has at times driven him and his family from their home, and that they stayed at a nearby family's place because conditions were better there.
    He said he understands why Drosness is moving, why Clements and others are worried about air quality and how living near the bloom may impact their long-term health.
    "People are talking about whether they stay and fight or move on," Pim said. "I worked really hard to get waterfront property and I’m going on three years at my place and it’s the dream, to live on the water. But here we are."
    Clements said she and her partner, Sally Guske, have thought about moving too.
    But for now they're holding out, hunkering down inside their house and waiting for conditions to improve.
    "I'm devastated about it," Clements said. "Just a couple of months ago the tarpon were in here. Dolphins were in here and we had manatees. And now (even) the catfish are gone."

    https://www.news-press.com/story/new...al/1265846002/

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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Super-snake: hybrid pythons could pose new threat to Florida Everglades

    A genetic study has found that some specimens of the invasive reptile that has decimated local wildlife are a mixture of two Asian species which could make it an even more formidable predator

    Richard Luscombe in Miami @richlusc
    Sat 25 Aug 2018 02.00 EDT
    Last modified on Mon 27 Aug 2018 06.57 EDT


    Florida wildlife officials have tried unsuccessfully to reduce or eliminate the up to 150,000 pythons that have made their home in the state after being released as unwanted pets in the 1980s. Photograph: Joe Skipper/Reuters

    From carnivorous giant lizards to toxic climbing tree frogs, the Florida Everglades have become a haven to invasive species steadily destroying and devouring the flora and fauna of the state’s famed River of Grass.

    Now comes news of a hybrid super-predator slithering its way through the waterways of the 1.5m-acre wilderness: a genetically blended python that researchers believe might be able to better embrace the subtropical environment and expand its range more rapidly than any species before it.


    The discovery was made during a study to improve knowledge of non-native species. US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists analysed 400 snakes captured in the Everglades over a 10-year period from 2001.


    The researchers expected to find only the pure genetic makeup of the Burmese python, the deadly constrictor that has exploded in numbers to supplant the American alligator as the region’s apex predator since a small number of unwanted pets were released in the 1980s.


    Instead, they were surprised to uncover “a tangled family tree”, the genetic signature of the Indian rock python present in at least 13 snakes.

    That species is smaller, faster and arguably more aggressive than its big cousin, and thrives on higher and drier ground. Burmese pythons are more at home in the water.


    “When two species come together they each have a unique set of genetic traits and characteristics they use to increase their survival and their unique habitats and environments,” said Margaret Hunter, a USGS research geneticist and the lead author of the report.


    “You bring these different traits together and sometimes the best of those traits will be selected in the offspring. That allows for the best of both worlds in the Everglades, it helps them to adapt to this new ecosystem potentially more rapidly.”


    Hunter stressed that the genetic markers – found only in the snakes’ mitochondrial DNA passed down through the maternal line – do not mean a new species of super-snake has suddenly been unleashed on the Everglades. The researchers believe cross-breeding occurred before the pythons secured their foothold in Florida.


    “The ones that have this signature would have to be female and breeding to pass it on to their offspring,” she said.

    Also unclear is the impact of so-called “hybrid vigour” on an individual snake.


    “Morphologically, lots of times if you have a hybrid between two good species, the hybrid shares the traits of both [but] how that translates to behaviour I don’t know,” said Steve Johnson, associate professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida.


    “It would depend on what genes, what molecular information is in a hybrid and how that information relates to their behavior.”


    An adult female Burmese python captured in Everglades national park, Florida. Some specimens carry DNA from the Indian rock python. Photograph: Wayne Lynch/Getty Images/All Canada Photos

    Hunter, though, still sees this as an unwelcome development that could hamper already unsuccessful efforts to reduce or eliminate up to 150,000 pythons that have decimated native species including bobcats, foxes, rabbits and raccoons from the Florida Keys to north of Lake Okeechobee.

    “It can potentially lead to a better ability to adapt to environmental stressors and changes,” she said. “In an invasive population like Burmese pythons in south Florida this could result in a broader or more rapid distribution.

    With how rapidly they’ve [already] increased their population and expanded it appears they’re doing quite well.”


    Wildlife officials admit they are fighting a losing battle. Failed initiatives have included training dogs to sniff out the snakes and releasing pythons with radio transmitters to lead hunters to females carrying up to 100 eggs at a time.


    Probably the most audacious effort came last year when two renowned snake catchers from India’s mountain-dwelling Irula tribe chanted their way across the Everglades for two months.

    They bagged 33 pythons. But that figure, like the 1,000-plus snakes killed to date in civilian hunting programmes, is a drop in the ocean.


    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has recorded more than 500 invasive or non-native species in the state, including tegu lizards from South America that eat rodents, Cuban tree frogs that prey on smaller species of amphibians and green iguanas that feast on native plants.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...-threat-danger

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  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Florida man hauls in 1,000-pound gator on Lake Okeechobee

    By: FOX 13 News staff
    POSTED: AUG 22 2018 04:02PM EDT
    UPDATED: AUG 22 2018 04:58PM EDT


    COOPER CITY, Fla. (FOX 13) - A South Florida man taking part in Florida's annual alligator hunt pulled in a huge gator while out on Lake Okeechobee.

    Jim Howard, who's also an airline pilot, was on the lake with his neighbors last week when he spotted the 12-foot gator.

    RELATED: Alligator hunting season underway in Florida


    The gator took the bait after about 30 minutes, Howard told FOX 13, which led to a fight that lasted about an hour and a half, even dragging the boat through the water, until they were able to bring it in.


    The gator weighed about 1,000 pounds.


    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has issued more than 7,500 permits to help manage the alligator population.


    After being placed on the endangered species list in 1967, the population of alligators has rebounded.


    The season, which began Aug. 15, runs until November 1.

    http://www.fox13news.com/news/florid...ake-okeechobee


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