FGCU professor and task force working on blue-green algae solutions

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
FILE Photo of toxic algae from summer 2018. Credit: WINK News.

It’s not going to be easy, but FGCU Professor Dr. Mike Parsons, who was recently appointed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force, said we will see results in the fight against algae blooms in Southwest Florida.

“We will be making progress,” Parson said. “I want to assure viewers of that.”

The new task force met for its first official meeting since its formation.

“Well one thing we did on this in our first meeting was actually learn about the regulations and the procedures that [Florida] Department of Environmental Protection has to follow,” Parsons said.

Parsons said the issue isn’t immediately clear.

“This is fairly complicated when you get down into the weeds about it,” Parsons said. “We really need to understand what’s being done.”

Before the task force makes recommendations to the state, this will include looking at exactly what is getting into our waterways and considering possible solutions.

“Anything from putting in treatment ponds and retention ponds,” Parsons said.

Bob Wasno, resource coordinator for FGCU’s Vester Field Station, believes it’s a complex problem with a complex solution.

“It’s going to take some quite remarkable measures to alleviate that kind of pollutant and the amount of nutrients going into the system,” Wasno said.

This will require time, money and resources to clean up.

“We’re on a fast track,” Wasno said. “We’re supposed to be acting quickly. The legislature provided funding.”

Parsons said there isn’t a set date for the next task force meeting, but he believes it will be within the next month.

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