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Lake Okeechobee

  • Red tide is everywhere.From Tampa Bay south to Ten Thousand Islands, local groups and state agencies that test for and track red tide are warning that the harmful algae bloom that kills fish and sickens dogs, and whose acrid air chases people off the beach, is here.And there. And there. And there.Red tide was detected at every beach in Sarasota County soon after Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers in late September. Earlier this month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the red tide organism, Karenia brevis, in nearly 100 samples throughout Southwest Florida.Florida Department of Health officials in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties are issuing health alerts daily warning of the real and present danger to human and animals.The red tide is so prevalent, so pungent, and so potentially poisonous that the authors of the health advisories ignored the long-established practice of softening the language to avoid scaring away tourists.
  • By analyzing 9 years of data, Florida researchers recently proved that toxic algae blooms are exacerbated by nutrient-rich freshwater releases. The results confirm what scientists, activists, fisherman and others have observed anecdotally for years.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis announced the veto of controversial SB 2508, a Lake Okeechobee water supply bill that environmental advocates strongly opposed.
  • The Florida Department of Health in Lee County issued a health advisory Friday warning people and their pets to stay away from the area due to “the presence of harmful blue-green algal toxins,” the agency wrote. “The public should exercise caution in and around Franklin Lock.”The tropical system was taking aim at Fort Myers on Friday evening, gaining strength, and was expected to become the first named tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.The Army Corps was closing all its locks and dams on Lake Okeechobee to secure the 142-mile-long dike ringing the lake. The South Florida Water Management District was doing the same with the locks and dams it controls.
  • That humans contribute to making red tides stronger and last longer has been anecdotal. Now, researchers in Southwest Florida have explained that it's really true. Environmental researchers led by the University of Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions documented the link after studying a decade of red tide data from the Caloosahatchee River, Charlotte Harbor, and the surrounding watersheds including the coasts of Charlotte and Lee counties. The findings are published in the June issue of Science of the Total Environment.
  • Right now there is a box-shaped, metal thing sliding along the surface of Lake Okeechobee. It’s called a boat, but it resembles an aluminum scooper that doesn’t look like it should float. It moves with paddlewheels and sports a pitchfork. The smelly, messy endeavor is the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s latest stab at ways to rid Lake Okeechobee of the invasive species.
  • Environmental groups working to restore the Florida Everglades were elated to learn Wednesday that $1.1 billion from the federal infrastructure package has been earmarked to help pay for the massive, multi-decade restoration. The money will be used to hasten the efforts to undo the extensive environmental damage the Everglades suffered in the early 1900s, when the Army Corps built canals, locks and levees in a massive water management and flood control plan before the damaging environmental impacts of such efforts were fully known. Improving water quality and quantity is the Everglades is a top priority.
  • We are all connected by the environment we share. The Earth is our home. This is the space where we share the environmental stories that caught our attention this week in Florida and beyond.
  • The Chairman of the Lee County Board of Commissioners Kevin Ruane is sounding the alarm about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers new plan for Lake Okeechobee.
  • We are all connected by the environment we share. The Earth is our home. This is the space where we share the environmental stories that caught our attention this week in Florida and beyond.