Blue-green algae task force seeking environmental solutions

Reporter: Elizabeth Biro Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Battling blue-green algae in Southwest Florida is a year-round, around-the-clock fight.

Tuesday afternoon, the group tasked with leading the charge in fighting blue-gree algae is focusing on solutions.

Florida Gulf Coast University professor and task force member Mike Parsons knows the number one problem in the ongoing blue-green algae battle.

“It comes down to nutrients, and so we have too many nutrients getting into the water, and that’s leading to these algal blooms, so we have to address the nutrient problem,” Parsons said.

The group’s primary objective has been nutrient tracking, monitoring what the sources are and looking at agriculture, stormwater runoff and wastewater treatment. This way, those areas can be targeted.

Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida, Mark Rains, said the goal for the time being is to improve matching data with models.

“There are people who try to bring them all together, and because these are sort of compartmentalized efforts, sometimes it’s difficult to find that summary and synthesis,” Rains said.

“You can use the models to basically address issues and try to find solutions,” Parsons said. “But the one thing that we were really discussing in detail was how can you assess the performance of these models and if they are underperforming, let’s say, what is available to improve the models?”

Since our water is complex, the solutions won’t happen overnight, but as the group gains a better understanding it will continue moving in the right direction.

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