PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Researcher Proposes Using 'Wetlaculture' to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms

The 2018 blue-green algae bloom that filled much of Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and its estuary with thick, green, toxic, algae left no doubt that real solutions to nutrient pollution must be found, not only for the sake of Southwest Florida’s economy, but the health of its citizens.

Florida’s Blue-Green Algae Task Force produced a number of recommendations back in October, including better septic tank monitoring, collecting more water quality data, taking a closer look at best management practices for agriculture, and providing more transparency when warning the public about health risks related to the algae. And, the Florida Legislature is considering legislation that would implement some of those changes. But, none of them are what you might consider out-of-the-box, or truly innovative approaches to solving our persistent nutrient pollution problem, and preventing the algae blooms nutrient pollution can fuel. 

On today’s show we’re joined by a researcher who has spent his career working on wetland science to learn about an idea that is definitely out-of-the-box. Dr. Bill Mitsch is currently Eminent Scholar and Director of FGCU’s Everglades Wetland Research Park, and Juliet C. Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration at the university.

He also designed and is Founding Director of the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University where he taught for 26 years and has been Professor Emeritus since 2012. And he co-wrote the college text Wetlands back in the 1980s; it’s now in its 4th edition and still being used. He joins us in studio to explain his ‘wetlaculture’ idea, and preview the 2-day "Workshop on Wetlands Mitigating Harmful Algal Blooms" that's from 6 to 9 pm both Thursday and Friday, February 20-21, at FGCU’s Kapnick Center at Naples Botanical Garden.