Blue-Green Algae Task Force gets to work at its first meeting

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An abundance of blue-green algae. Photo via WINK News.
An abundance of blue-green algae. (Credit: WINK News)

The water crisis and the fight to make sure smelly blue-green algae does not return this year. Wednesday morning, experts from around the state gathered for the first time to form a plan.

It is a sight no one in Southwest Florida ever wants to see again. Gunks of blue-green algae clogging up our waterways.

The water looks clear and inviting today, which is how members of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force want to keep it. On Wednesday, they held their first meeting in the capital city.

“We need to identify potentially some science needs moving forward that are contributing to those blooms and the nature of those blooms,” said Tom Frazer, chief science officer.

The first step is to reduce the number of harmful nutrients in the water. They hope better water monitoring will help. They expect money in the budget will be available right away.

“Certainly it means we need more folks on the ground to do that in the short-term,” said Noah Valenstein, Florida Department of Environmental Protection secretary. “As we see this ramp up, also we need more monitoring points.”

But, do not expect significant changes anytime soon. The task force plans to meet every three-to-four-weeks until August. They hope funding for future projects promised by the governor will improve water quality issues in the upcoming five years.

Meanwhile, the task force plans to modify existing rules. For the task force member and Florida Gulf Coast University Professor Mike Parsons, he is making protecting our water his mission.

“It’s on everybody’s radar and I know that and so I’ll do my best to make sure our voice is heard down here,” Parsons said.

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