South Florida Water Management Responds to Critics over Blue-Green Algae

 

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The South Water Management is addressing their critics saying that they aren’t working hard enough to stop blue-green algae from spreading.

Blue-green algae is becoming such a problem that officials at Treasure Coast had to close down some of beaches of Martin County this week. The algae has begun to spread across most of South Florida.

A spokesman for South Florida Water Management talked to the Palm Beach Post and admitted that the algae is becoming widespread across the entire district.

It’s reaching the point where water management officials are receiving criticism for their inability to solve the problem. They recently tried to educate people about the myths associated with blue-green algae on Wednesday. They released a set of myths and the actual facts about blue-green algae.

They released an email saying that they were taking extraordinary measures to bring down releases in Lake Okeechobee. One of these measures was to store over 2.7 million gallons of water in the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin.

The district also disagreed with the claims that Lake Okeechobee releases are the only contributor to blue-green algae blooms. They corrected this idea by saying that nutrients and fresh water can cause blue-green algae to grow. These nutrients can also come from the local stormwater runoff and septic tanks. This blue-green algae has bloomed before, including in 2014 when there was no accompanying lake releases; which proves the lake releases are not the sole cause.

Another idea people have suggested is to purchase some land south of the lake and build a reservoir. The SFWMD refuted this claim, saying that the money would be better served going towards other restoration projects and wasn’t worth it.

They went on to say that even if they were to buy the land they couldn’t build the reservoir because there would be a 10-year operating lease. A reservoir that was built on the land wouldn’t have removed the need to do lake releases, nor would it eliminate the algae blooms. They are currently working on other projects to store water and move it to the south to reduce lake releases.

The blue-green algae has become a major headache for Treasure Coast communities. It reached a point where Martin County declared a seven-day state of emergency. The state of emergency gives the county the powers to take any and all necessary action to ensure the community stays healthy and safe.

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