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Task Force Recommends New Water Monitoring Strategy As Toxic Algae Remedy

Satellite photograph of Lake Okeechobee from July 2016, showing a large cyanobacteria algae bloom. Image courtesy of NASA
Satellite image of Lake Okeechobee showing the cyanobacteria algae bloom. Image courtesy of NASA

A state task force appointed in response to the toxic algae that gripped Florida last year is recommending a new statewide water monitoring strategy.

The recommendation is one of several from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force after its first five meetings.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed the task force after widespread outbreaks of blue-green algae and red tide that sickened Floridians and left fish and other marine wildlife belly-up.

The task force recommends that a new statewide water monitoring strategy include sampling for environmental data that can be used in future studies on human health.

The task force also recommends a septic system monitoring program that would identify malfunctioning systems that are leaking harmful nutrients into ailing waterways.

Currently nothing requires that septic systems be inspected after installation. Paul Gray of Audubon Florida says that could change in the future.

“I think that the task force said, 'Guys, this is a stream of nutrients that we need to check in on and make sure we’re doing as well as we should be,'" he says.

The task force also calls for better compliance among farmers with requirements aimed at minimizing the harmful effects of fertilizers on waterways.


Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.
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