Stuart offers advice two years after their own algae crisis

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Stuart algae. Photo via WINK News

Florida Sportsman is an outdoor magazine with their headquarters located right on the water in Stuart, Fla.

The last two years they have experienced similar conditions that we have here in Southwest Florida, and it had major effects to their work environment being right near the algae blooms in the water.

“Your health is probably the number one issue, so in terms of providing people with employment it is good but if it’s at the risk of them becoming physically sick or ill, we’re not going to put them at risk by forcing them to come into a bad working environment,” said Blair Wickstrom, of Florida Sportsman Magazine.

Wickstrom has been fighting to keep his employees safe from the toxic algae.

“We have got a major health risk going on and right now the state wants to try to ignore it.”

He says each year the blooms surface and his employees and others who live and work around the St. Lucie river get sick and fed up. This past July, they had to close up their business for 10 days, and now he sees the same thing happening in SWFL.

“If I was on the west coast I would be as vocal and loud as possible. In 2016 we had it bad here and east coast got very vocal. When 2018 came around, that water went west,” said Wickstrom.

More water went west because the Army Corp. of Engineers say the Caloosahathcee river is larger than St. Lucie river and can handle it.

And we have already seen the effects in can have on water.

Indian River keeper, Marty Baum blames it on polluted nutrient rich water.

“The Cyanobacteria would be the biggest thing and as far as I’m concerned, it overwhelms everything else.”

Baum also says more testing needs to be done before it’s too late.

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