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    South East Florida Beaches Closed Due to Blue-Green Algae, Industrial Pollutants

    South Florida Beaches Closed Due to Blue-Green Algae, Industrial Pollutants

    Beachgoers barred, tourism crippled, state of emergency declared as C4CW organizes July 2nd protest at Stuart Beach


    By Matt Pruett


    • Published:June 30, 2016
    • Views:7,913
    • er is this. Photo: Mark Hill



    What will you be doing this Fourth of July weekend?
    If you happen to be in a large chunk of South Florida, you won’t be surfing. Or swimming. Or fishing. Or even going to the beach. Hopefully you won’t be stuck inside tending to a rash or a respiratory ailment. Or worse, a full-blown infection or neurological crisis.

    Hopefully.
    According to the Palm Beach Post, the same blue-green algae that closed Treasure Coast beaches earlier this year — Stuart, where the St. Lucie River empties into the Atlantic Ocean, seeing the worst effects — has made its way south into Jupiter, prompting the same result.

    Also called “cyanobacteria,” this stinking, foamy scum is defined by the Florida Department of Health as “tiny organisms naturally found in water, sometimes producing toxins… blooms can change the water color to blue, green or even orange and red. Swimming in the water can result in skin reactions or even hay fever or flu-like symptoms.”


    One of the toxins produced in cyanobacteria, BMAA, has recently been linked to triggering neurological catastrophes like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    Former CT competitor-turned-boat captain Shea Lopez happened to be fishing in Stuart when the latest algae bloom invaded the ocean. “The snook and all the smart fish were hightailing it for clean water,” he said. “I had a glove on my hand to keep a cut from being exposed to the filth. You know it’s bad when parents won’t allow their children to play in the water.

    And when there’s surf down there, we’re communicating with friends not about where the waves are best, but where the water is cleanest.”

    Naturally, with the tourism-rich Fourth of July weekend approaching, South Florida businesses, environmentalists, politicians and beachgoers of all types, like surfers, are bumming. “We haven’t rented a paddleboard or surfboard since Friday,” Ohana Surf Shop co-owner Tara Schwartz told thePalm Beach Post on Monday. “We cancelled our surfing class, which had 200 children at $40 per person. Closing that beach hurts the entire economy — restaurants, hotels, retail stores, everybody. We’re a beach town.”

    This is the first time Martin County has been forced to close its beaches due to algae, so on Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners called an emergency meeting at their chambers in Stuart to discuss water conditions in the St. Lucie River and other local water bodies. Around the same time, a mass of blobs blanketed a park on the Intracoastal Waterway in West Palm Beach.

    “They found green algae on Wednesday in Juno Beach, Jupiter, and even Delray because there’s another canal connected to Lake Okeechobee,” said Evan Miller, founder/president of Citizens 4 Clean Water (C4CW), a Stuart-based, public charity organization aimed at spreading clean water awareness. “Because they have so much to get rid of, they opened up the C-51, straight into Delray. Now it’s everywhere from Stuart to Palm Beach, every county.”


    According to Condé Nast Traveler, the problem really started escalating last fall. Record rainfall between November and January caused Lake Okeechobee waters to rise a foot above normal, prompting the South Florida Water Management District to pump water into the lake to protect nearby communities from flooding.

    Meanwhile, industrial sugar production companies that use that freshwater to irrigate their fields before the excess is reintroduced into the lake grew nervous of the structural integrity of Lake Okeechobee’s dike, so officials diverted the excess into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.

    “The algae comes with large amounts of nutrients in the water, like runoff from the farmland north of the lake,” Miller added.

    “That back-pumping they did in February was done illegally, opening up the C-44 and C-51 to close the hatch on the west coast of Florida. They dumped it out as quick as they could, even though the lake wasn’t at maximum capacity. It was actually a foot lower than what’s considered a dangerous level, so they didn’t need to open the gates. They did it by choice to get rid of that algae.”

    David Guest, regional head of the environmental law firm Earthjustice, told Condé Nast Traveler that the chocolatey surge heading into the ocean is “equal to the flow of the largest river in Florida” and is a result of “lax or non-existent regulations of pollution sources in industrial agriculture.”

    “Businesses that are water-dependent — commercial fishing, the guides, the hotels, the beaches — are being devastated,” Guest added. “Beyond tourism, the toxic run-off is harming the ecosystems that thrive off the state’s coasts, including seagrasses, oyster beds and fish populations, like the most recent visitors to the state’s Atlantic Coast. Residents, business owners and activists are using social media to call on Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency.”

    Guest delivered this statement back in February. It wasn’t until just yesterday that Governor Scott issued Executive Order 16-155 declaring an emergency in Martin and St. Lucie Counties, which allows state and local governments to take action against the spread of the algal blooms by redirecting the water flow in and out of Lake Okeechobee. Many residents, however, feel he acted too late and is doing too little. “We’re being poisoned and the director of this mess is the Governor of Florida,” asserted Stuart-based surf photographer Mark Hill. “Millions of gallons of agriculture run-off, fertilizer/nutrients, are being disposed of in a Third World method.”

    While litigators, activists and environmentalists work their way up the political food chain, C4CW is spearheading efforts on the ground, rallying concerned citizens to Stuart Beach this Saturday, July 2nd, at 10am, where participants will spell out BUY THE LAND, hoping for a viral message via aerial photograph. At the very least, C4CW vows to spread understanding of the gravity of the situation; but ultimately hopes to convince the state to buy the land back from the sugar industry.

    “We started protesting back in 2013, when we had our first toxic summer here in Stuart,” Miller continued. “This is now the third summer in a row we’ve had toxic algae in our lagoon. We’ve been trying to make as much noise as we can, and we’re getting people educated, but the real problem is a lack of political will. We need to get enough people fired up to hold these officials accountable to do their job and start making some permanent solutions to save Florida’s water. That starts with putting pressure on politicians to take action and push our governor, who can make an executive decision to purchase that land back, because it’s leased to government farmers who’ve never paid property tax or sales tax on it. Florida Atlantic University has done studies over and over again, and the best permanent solution would be to restore the natural flow of water through all that cattail and sawgrass of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), known as the ‘river of grass,’ where the plants naturally eat up the nutrients in the water, making it clean. It would only take a small percentage of the EAA, like 14% percent, and it wouldn’t put anyone out of business because it would create new jobs. But they keep ignoring the solution.”

    There’s some big litigations going on right now between Earthjustice, the State of Florida and the Army Corps of Engineers,” Miller finished. “I also saw that Erin Brockovich had made some comments on Facebook, which is good for us. Because we’re really trying to get around big money. And the sugar industry is big money.”

    http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/be...art-be_139476/

    Martin County has established a hotline, 772-320-3112, for the public to obtain daily information on water conditions at local beaches. In the meantime, visit C4CW at http://www.citizensforcleanwater.org/,https://www.facebook.com/citizens4cleanwater/ and https://www.instagram.com/c4cw/ to stay in the loop.
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    “We’re being poisoned and the director of this mess is the Governor of Florida,” asserted Stuart-based surf photographer Mark Hill. “Millions of gallons of agriculture run-off, fertilizer/nutrients, are being disposed of in a Third World method.”
    Any cancer causing pesticides in the mix - without a doubt.

    The more populace, the more these events will happen and even worse. So the talk of how good it is to have a bigger population for various reasons stated recently by the rich against Trump - more taxes paid, more cheap labor, more houses etc etc has dangerous drawbacks.

    The west has 80,0000 wild horses in holding pens, more in numbers than free on the range - idaho, utah politicians are pushing for legislation to kill theml. They want their designated lands for corporate profits from polluting industries - "dirty energy" - "mining" and have the illegals live around them - fill the country up. Pollute our waters, air, lands and leave no open spaces.
    No man may poison the people for his private profit.
    —Theodore Roosevelt
    The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.”
    “When a man must be afraid to drink freely from his country's river and streams that country is no longer fit to live in. ”― Edward Abbey

    We Are Using Water At An Unsustainable Rate

    June 16, 2016 By FAIR Staff


    Despite tremendous gains in water conservation over the last several decades, Americans are using water at an unsustainable rate. The reason: Population growth.

    The Census Bureau projects that the population will grow from 321.3 million people today to 400.1 million in 2051 and the 1.5 million immigrants who move to America each year place an ever-increasing burden on our national water supply. Though we cannot fault recent immigrants for satisfying their water needs, we must act in our nation’s interest by lowering immigration to a level that is environmentally sustainable.

    http://immigrationreform.com/2016/06...n=Top506172016
    Last edited by artist; 06-30-2016 at 10:39 PM.
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    Army Corps of Engineers battles 'guacamole-thick' Florida algae

    By Rob Verger
    Published July 01, 2016 FoxNews.com

    The Army Corps of Engineers has begun taking steps to reduce the thick, putrid algae that is fouling up Florida shorelines just as the summer is kicking off in earnest with the Fourth of July holiday.

    The Corps said that they would start reducing the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into two estuaries as of Friday. The commander of the Jacksonville, Fla. district of the Corps, Col. Jason Kirk, said that the move came after seeing the slime up close.


    “Our water managers have dealt with such large quantities of rain and runoff entering the lake that it would cover the entire state of Delaware in two feet of water,” Kirk said in a statement on Thursday.

    “However, after visiting with local elected officials in Martin County yesterday and viewing the algae first hand, we felt compelled to take action, even though we need to remain vigilant in managing the level of Lake Okeechobee.”


    John Campbell, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers in Florida, told FoxNews.com that they had “implemented the new plan.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/...?intcmp=hplnws

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    NASA/Reuters

    SAMANTHA ALLEN

    07.12.16 10:00 PM ET


    Will This Toxic Algae Bloom Eat Florida?

    A thick, toxic guacamole-like algae is choking Florida’s beaches—and experts say we’ll only see more of it in the years to come.

    When you think about the risks that climate change poses to Florida, you probably picture a rising sea swallowing Miami Beach and hurricanes battering the coast.


    You might not imagine “guacamole-thick” toxic algae strangling the state’s waterways and polluting its beaches. But that’s exactly what several Florida counties have been experiencing since late June, after the Army Corps of Engineers spent months siphoning off nutrient-rich water from Lake Okeechobee to preserve a leaky, problem-prone dike.

    Meanwhile, experts warn that we’ll only see more of these dangerous blue-green algae blooms as global temperatures rise—in Florida and nationwide.


    “These types of blooms are going to be more prevalent as the climate warms,” said Rob Moore, senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) water program. “That’s yet another motivating factor for the U.S. and for governments around the world to take rapid action to decrease emissions that are causing climate change.”

    The thick muck that is currently strangling Florida’s Treasure Coast, closing beaches andclearing out hotel reservations during the busy summer season, is the result of a perfect storm of exacerbating factors.

    Cyanobacteria blooms tend to form in warm water that has been polluted with nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, found in fertilizers. That pollution is facilitated by rainfall and the resulting runoff. It’s no surprise, then, that a blue-green algae bloom would occur in South Florida after heavy rains caused Lake Okeechobee to rise nine inches right before the hottest June on record in the contiguous U.S., according to statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    In fact, South Florida witnessed above average temperatures for “almost the entire month,” according to a report from the National Weather Service and the NOAA, with “a strong southwest wind” keeping the cooler Atlantic breeze at bay mid-month.


    “When you have elevated temperatures in the summer, and when you have a lot of rain—which Florida has been getting this summer—you’ve got the perfect conditions for cyanobacteria,” said Moore. “And those conditions are going to exist far more frequently as the climate warms.”

    There is no data tracking the nationwide frequency of blue-green algae blooms but Moore says that several bodies of water are “experiencing these types of problems much more frequently than they did in the past.”

    Lake Erie, for example, has been dealing with harmful cyanobacteria blooms for years, sometimes interrupting drinking water access for thousands of people. The NOAA is predicting more toxic blooms to come for Lake Erie in 2016. And as recently as this Tuesday, two beaches in Vermont had to close because of the toxic algae, which sickens swimmers on contact.

    These incidents and many others have led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to warnthat climate change “might cause harmful algal blooms to occur more often, in more water bodies and to be more intense.”


    As the EPA notes, climate change doesn’t just facilitate the spread of blue-green algae blooms by warming the waters in which they reproduce; warming temperatures also give rise to the conditions in which they initially form.

    Sea level rise, for example, will create more shallow coastal water, providing an ideal environment for cyanobacteria to flourish. Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air will feed the algal blooms. And changes in rainfall patterns caused by climate change could bring even more nutrients into the waterways.

    “Climate change tends to skew our rainfall toward larger, less frequent events,” Moore told The Daily Beast. “And those are the types of events that really flush a lot of phosphorus and nitrogen off of the land and into the water.”

    In recent years, more of our rain has indeed come in larger and more concentrated doses. According to NOAA data, extreme one-day precipitation events have been on the rise, with eight of the top 10 years for these events occurring since 1990—a trend that many scientists have connected to rising temperatures.

    Between the rising temperatures and the heavy rains, Moore warns, “it will take less nutrients to produce the same types of blooms in the future.”The nutrients causing the current blue-green algae bloom in Florida are the result of “decades of pollution,” as the Sun Sentinel reported last week, from surrounding cattle ranches, farms, citrus groves, and suburban neighborhoods. And while the Army Corps of Engineers tries to keep the current South Florida bloom in check, there’s no guarantee that it won’t return.

    Some consequences of climate change, like sea level rise, have been extensively modeled—but not the conditions for blue-green algae blooms.

    “It’s a very difficult problem to forecast,” said Moore. “There are several different species of blue-green algae and each one of them grows preferentially based on the available nutrients and the available temperature and sunlight.”

    “You might get one species of cyanobacteria dominating one year, you might get another species dominating another year,” he continued. “And you might get totally different species causing a bloom in different parts of the country.”

    Short of reducing water pollution or mitigating the effects of climate change, the toxic guacamole-like sludge will keep coming back. It is one of the least predictable effects of rising global temperatures and, perhaps, the most disgusting.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...t-florida.html

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    Spenser Heaps, Deseret News





    Health officials shut down Utah Lake over algal bloom concerns


    By Carter Williams | Posted Jul 15th, 2016 @ 11:10pm





    10PM: Health officials shut down Utah Lake over algal bloom concerns
    Andrew Adams, KSL TV

    +Show 4 more videos


    PROVO — Scot Chipman has spent plenty of time on Utah Lake, but he said his venture out on the lake Tuesday was nothing like he's ever seen before.

    "I've seen a lot of thick green algae over the last 30-plus years out on that lake, but nothing like what I saw on Tuesday," said Chipman, who is president of the Utah Water Ski Club. "Tuesday was still really thick algae, but it had that blue tint to it and it smelled horrid ... (it was a) completely different type of bloom that I've ever seen."


    Health officials began noticing the algae too, and after further testing throughout the week, decided to close Utah Lake Friday due to the large potentially hazardous algal bloom patch covering the majority of the lake water.


    The closure is effective immediately, Utah County Health Department executive health director Ralph Clegg said in a statement. Clegg added that the lake will reopen once is it safe for recreation.


    Utah Lake State Park manager Jason Allen told KSL that no timetable is certain for when the lake would reopen. He said he believes that it would take weather activity to have that happen, which is not in the immediate forecast for the area.


    "We're going to need strong winds and some good weather activity to turn up and clean up the water," he said.


    High counts of cyanobacteria, which produces potentially life-threatening toxins, were found in the water samples taken from Provo Marina and in open water, Utah Department of Environment Quality communication director Donna Spangler said.


    The level of algae found was three times the threshold allowed to keep the lake open, Spangler said.


    Any fish taken from the lake since Sunday should not be consumed, Spanger added.

    Fishing in the river areas near the lake is also not recommended.


    In addition, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food advised farmers and ranchers to avoid using water from the lake for farm production until lab results are available next week. The UDAF advised those farmers to use other water sources for their livestock and crops if possible due to the toxic algae affecting the water.


    A carp removal fisherman pilots a boat out of the harbor at Utah Lake State Park in Provo on Friday, July 15, 2016. (Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

    Frequent recreational users of the lake like Chipman noticed the problem quickly.

    Chipman grabbed a time lapse of the algal bloom making its way into Provo Harbor.

    The video shows the rapid growth of the algae over one afternoon.


    "That time lapse is nothing compared to what is out on the main lake," Chipman said. "That's what made it into the harbor when the winds shifted."


    Multiple environmental agencies began testing the water Wednesday after a large patch of the algae was spotted via satellite images on Monday. Test results confirmed the existence of toxins in the water, the DEQ announced on Thursday.


    Satellite images taken on Tuesday showed the algal bloom covered nearly 90 percent of the lake either on the surface or subsurface of the water, according to Spangler.


    Chipman said he didn't notice a problem with the algae on Sunday when he was out on the lake, but on Tuesday patches were visible all over Utah Lake. He said he had never seen algae of that level of magnitude before, and that quickly.


    "It appeared essentially within a day," he said. "I was down there Sunday and there was no sign of it at all. My friends down there on Monday didn't see anything.

    Tuesday, I went down there and it was everywhere. It exploded when it happened."


    Utah Lake was closed down until further notice on Friday after the discovery of potentially harmful algal bloom. (Photo: Utah Department of Environmental Quality)

    The problem with the algal bloom is the toxins it carries.

    “These types of algae release neurotoxins and hepatotoxins, that can affect brain, nervous system and liver function,” said Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health.


    Those who may have been exposed or have questions about possibly having had contact with the algae in the lake are urged to seek their physician or call Utah Poison Control at 800-222-1222.


    Those who may have concerns about animal exposure should contact their veterinarian or the Utah Department of Agriculture at 801-538-7100.


    More information will be added when it becomes available.

    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=40666305&ni...bloom-concerns
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    Lake Elsinore shut down due to harmful blue-green algae

    July 29, 2016
    Updated 10:18 a.m.

    By MICHAEL J. WILLIAMS / STAFF WRITER

    Lake Elsinore has been shut down to all recreation because of a high concentration of harmful algae, officials announced Thursday, July 28.

    Tests conducted by the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project determined that toxic substances in the lake “exceed recommended recreational health thresholds,” Lake Elsinore Senior Management Analyst Nicole Dailey said in a news release.


    The substances, cylindrospermopsin, anatoxin-a and microcystin stem from the proliferation of cyanobacteria, the scientific name for blue-green algae. The toxins materialize as the algae die off.


    Blue-green algae blooms have been responsible for the shutdown of several water bodies in the state, including Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County, Lake Temescal in Oakland and Discovery Bay in the Delta.


    Exposure to the toxic algae can cause rashes, skin and eye irritations, allergic reactions and gastrointestinal problems. It can harm animals and be fatal to dogs.


    “Public safety is our top priority,” Dailey said. “Therefore, the lake will remain closed until further notice.”


    She said more sampling will take place Monday to evaluate whether high toxicity persists.


    “At this time, it does appear the concentrations are high enough that it’s going to take some time to dissipate,” Dailey said in an interview. “We anticipate the lake to be closed at least over the weekend, if not longer.”


    Boats will not be allowed on the lake during the closure.

    While fishing from shore technically is allowed as long as there’s no bodily contact with the water, Dailey advised against it and warned against consuming fish caught from the lake during this period.


    She said the high toxic levels stem from a recent, severe algae bloom. The largest non-manmade water body in Southern California, the Lake Elsinore has continued to shrink during the drought, making it prone to algae blooms and fish kills during extreme heat.


    The lake’s depth has shrunk to about 15 feet at most and its surface area is now at about 2,500 acres, 500 less than normal.


    While the city and Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District infuse reclaimed water into the lake, it’s not enough to offset evaporation. With the support of the Lake Elsinore & San Jacinto Watersheds Authority, an aeration mixing system was installed in the lake in the past decade in an attempt to improve oxygen levels.


    “It’s not intended to prevent algae blooms and fish kills,” authority Administrator Mark Norton said. “It is intended to reduce the likelihood and frequency of algae blooms and fish kills.”


    The poor conditions, however, are overwhelming the ability of measures aimed at maintaining the lake’s health, which depends on rainfall and Canyon Lake reservoir’s dam overflowing.


    “It’s not like a drinking water reservoir and you can pump more water out there,” Norton said. “We don’t have any more water for the lake.”


    Norton said in the 15 years that he has been involved with Lake Elsinore, he has not seen it this low nor has it been shut down because of an algae bloom.


    The closure comes as a blow to the city, as the lake is a popular draw to boaters, anglers, bathers, jet and water skiers, kayakers and paddle-boarders.


    The closure comes as a blow to the city, as the lake is a popular draw to boaters, anglers, bathers, jet and water skiers, kayakers and paddle-boarders.

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/l...gae-water.html

    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 08-23-2018 at 10:48 PM.
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    Rio Grande algae behind weird tap water taste

    Daniel Borunda, El Paso Times 6:24 p.m. MDT July 29, 2016


    (Photo: robertsrob, Getty Images/iStockphoto)


    The strange taste of tap water reported near Downtown El Paso is due to an increase in algae in the Rio Grande, El Paso Water officials said Friday.

    El Paso Water has already increased treatment of its water to remove the musty smell and taste, but it might take a few days to completely flush the system and eliminate residual effects, the utility said in a statement.


    "The water is perfectly safe and healthy to drink — and meets all drinking water standards," El Paso Water spokeswoman Christina Montoya said in an email.


    The Rio Grande has more algae because of the abnormally hot weather this summer, Montoya said. She said the utility will get about 40 percent of its water supply from the river this year, which helps preserve aquifer supplies.


    El Paso Water said that other communities that rely on river and lake water have experienced similar issues.

    http://www.elpasotimes.com/story/new...aste/87761556/

    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 08-23-2018 at 10:50 PM.
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