toxic algae

The vague warning jolted citizens in and around Salem, Oregon to attention on May 29.

"Civil Emergency in this area until 1128PM," read the text message alert. "Prepare for action."

It was a ham-handed message — one that left some wondering if an attack was imminent. In fact, the danger officials wanted to warn them about wasn't coming from the sky.

It was coming from their taps.

Amy Green / WMFE

As Florida struggles with 'red tide' algae blooms on the west coast and blue-green algae in inland waterways, a federal program to help communities deal with harmful algae outbreaks is set to lose its Congressional authorization at the end of September.

It's been a long time since Florida's Gulf Coast has seen a red tide outbreak this severe.

Scientists along Florida's Gulf Coast are working to battle an unusually intense red tide algae bloom, which has killed tons of wildlife, shut down businesses and kept tourists away from beaches this summer.

The five democratic candidates for governor are largely in agreement on what to do about Florida’s algae bloom crisis: redirect freshwater releases from lake O south through the Everglades to a reservoir, which is yet to be constructed, address the sources of nutrient pollution flowing into the lake, and eliminate the political influence of Florida’s sugar industry which has been linked to that nutrient pollution.


Marine life has all been wiped out in the waters surrounding Gasparilla Island. 

The inlet straddles Charlotte and Lee counties, but the residential part — including Boca Grande — falls entirely under Lee, which has hauled more than 2.8 million pounds of dead fish from its beaches and waterways in the first two weeks of August alone.

The City of Sarasota has declared a state of emergency over the toxic red tide bloom that began in November.

Todd Kerkering is the emergency manager for the city of Sarasota. He has lived there since the 1970s and said he doesn't remember ever hearing about an emergency declaration in Sarasota because of red tide. 

There’s a new study into the resilience of Lake Okeechobee’s toxic algae as it flows from the fresh water lake into the brackish estuaries.

Jessica Meszaros / WUSF Public Media

A toxic red tide algae bloom that’s been persisting in Southwest Florida for nearly a year is now making its way to the Tampa Bay area. It’s been most recently reported as far north as Pinellas County.

Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

Toxic algae is an increasing problem in Florida, whether it’s red tide on the state’s west coast, or from releases from Lake Okeechobee. Jill Roberts, from sister station WQCS in Fort Pierce, tells us about a statewide event to focus attention on the toxic water. Hands Along the Water will remind politicians that toxic algae is an important issue to the state's voters. 

Andrew West / News-Press

When Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens, who is a well-regarded expert on water and has studied pollution all over the world, began hearing about a deepening algae bloom in his own backyard in Lake Okeechobee this summer, he struggled to find information that could tell him what was going on.

State scientists sample water in the lake, but too infrequently to track rapidly evolving algae blooms. Instead, Havens had to rely on satellite images that were taken on sunny days when clouds don’t get in the way.

Scott Calls For Action On Red Tide Amid Political Clamor

Aug 6, 2018

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities. 

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

The Herald-Tribune reports that visitors piled into the parking lot of Venice Beach, got out of their cars, started hacking, coughing and sneezing and then quickly left.

WMFE

Toxic algae again is blooming in Florida waterways.

The algae began in Lake Okeechobee and is spreading after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated flows to the adjoining Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green explains some of the water management decisions behind this toxic alga in a conversation with WMMO's host Shawn Burke. 

Burke: Amy, how much algae are we talking about?

State Grants To Help With Algae Blooms

Jul 24, 2018

A $3 million grant program for local governments to clean toxic algae blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries has been started by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Gov. Rick Scott’s office Monday announced the grant program, which follows his July 9 executive order declaring a state of emergency for Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties because of algae outbreaks.

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