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Action needed now

August 8, 2018
Lehigh Acres Citizen

To the editor:

The algal blooms have ravished Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie River and our Caloosahatchee River. This has been going on for about 44 years with some saying 50 years.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas mentioned the poor water quality in the Everglades in her book the "River of Grass" many years ago. What had been done has fallen by the wayside. Many of the past governors tried to clean the water up and passed legislation to do so but it was passed over throughout the years and been given up on.

How can we clean up our water to prevent these disastrous blooms?

We know that the Kissimmee River and its tributaries are to blame for a great deal of the pollution that creates the agal blooms.I was sitting on a plane headed for Dallas and happened to sit with a water biologist and expert who worked on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. The blue claw crabs were dying off by the thousands because of poor water quality coming from the Potomac River from fertilizer runoff. His rather simple solution was to build berms in all areas where the fertilizer runoff was prevalent to include vegetable, citrus, fruit, athletic fields and cattle pastures. Maybe even lawns that abut the river. He said the blue claw crabs have come back by the thousands.

All of these towns along the Kissimmee River should have fertilizer ordinances as should towns along all of the rivers concerned. They should explore berms and have them built.

Another avenue to stop the blooms would be a chemical approach. Give grants to universities who specialize in marine botany to find ways to stop the blooms before they start. Or find a spray to kill the algae blooms but nothing else such as the fish and sea grasses.

Algae research is sorely needed. We do not even know how these blooms form or ways to prevent the blooms from blooming. This research could help to stifle blooms all over the world, not just here.

The universities need to lead us to cleaner water. We used to have 8 million people living here just a few years back. Now we have 22 million living here and growing to at least 35 million in the near future. The sewage treatment centers need to keep up. The universities can help us with these problems and how to kill the blooms with chemicals that will only kill the blooms and nothing else.

Another big hangup is the Army Corp of Engineers. The Okeechobee dike repairs need to be worked on round the clock, not just eight hours a day. They should double or triple the people working to strengthen the dike.

Why?

Because we need to be able to finish these repairs by 2020 or sooner so they can build a flow way to send the water south. Do they even have plans for a spillway and flow way? Another reason to get the dike done as fast as possible is the wildlife failure has killed and will kill in the future. Twenty-two manatees plus have been killed already and even more that we have not found the the carcasses of. Hundreds of thousands of fish gone and, according to the fishing guides, it has wiped out the Goliath grouper population. Hundreds of sea turtles are in dire peril and dying with 30 at CROW for rehabilitation right now and the toxins they say, can kill us. Someone needs to be punished due to cruelty of animals.

People should care for the people who work at the beach who are destitute and out of work. A million dollar beach home was not sold just today because of the bloom.

As for the money to build the reservoir south of the lake they need Amendment 1 funds to build the reservoir and two huge settling lakes to cleanse the water. The federal government is just too slow to get the money to us. Our representative does not even know how to get the money. We need to build these structures within three years or sooner: Our tourist industry will be bankrupt, all of our fish -millions - will be gone and no place to swim, no manatees, sea turtles, all gone, along with thousands of birds and beach animals as well as thousands of tourists who will not come here. The dead zones in the gulf will only get larger and more of them. Thanks to our government elected officials who have done virtually nothing to send the water SOUTH.

I have gone to Tally to lobby to send the water south. Talked about it for years with virtually no results from our state and federal government officials. Look how many went to Washington D.C. on the 25th? Only one. I thank the mayor of Sanibel for going. along with some conservation groups.So much for helping each other.

We need help today. Not in the future.

Carl Veaux

Cape Coral

 
 

 

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