Algae Task Force releases recommendations to prevent SWFL water crisis

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

The Blue-Green Algae Task Force released its recommendations Wednesday on how to prevent gross gunk from coming back to our water. However, its plans are not finalized yet.

To steer away from blue-green algae issues, we need a road map.

Dr. Thomas Frazer, the chief science officer for the State of Florida, said the task force made actionable recommendations.

“We’ve got water quality issues all around the state,” Frazer said. “And I think some of the recommendations that we’re making, if not, all of those recommendations, can be generally applied and it’s going to be in everybody’s best interest.”

The state task force is responsible for addressing and reducing nutrients going into our waterways. It recommends a septic tank inspection and monitoring program, along with getting more farmers to cut back on pollutants and conserve water.

But some said that is not enough, including Diana Umpierre, the organizing representative of the Everglades Restoration Campaign for the Sierra Club.

“If that document is kind of like a blueprint that is kind of going to be the first step and they’re going to follow with specific recommendations, particular with regulatory recommendations,” she said, “then it is a good first step.”

Andy Mele, executive director of the Suncoast Waterkeeper, supports the recommendations, but it needs to be more specific.

“It’s overly general,” Mele said. “This sort of consensus document that they’re working on now is too general, but a lot of the panelists are picking that up.”

Professor of Marine Science at the Florida Gulf Coast University Water School Dr. Mike Parsons worries about the potential backlash of the recommendations.

“So that is a concern, but you can’t create such a stringent framework,” Parsons said. “People are going to rebel against it.”

But we can all agree, we do not want scenes of green gunk returning and we need to act now. Though, ultimately, the recommendations will go to the governor’s office and then it is up to lawmakers and state agencies to force change.

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