By Lou Ellen Wilson
Recap of Red Tide Meeting – July 27th Skip’s Marina, Englewood, Fl.
“People for a Solution to the Pollution”
Wild guestimate – approximately 250 people there. Was very well organized and participants were knowledgeable and attendees were orderly – was NOT political
Education: Problem was not made in a day, will not be solved in a day and has many facets:
a. Lake O pollution is caused by run-off of all the streams and rivers in the middle of the state from Ocala south thru Lake Kissimmee and into the Kissimmee River which was “ditched” in the 60’s into Lake O. This reduced the amount of natural filtering of water and sheet flow.
b.Pollution caused by farming, large groves, phosphate mines, many, many new subdivisions, highways, etc.
c.Portions of Lake O in the 30’s was diked to stop flooding in the northern portion of the Everglades which had been drained for commercial farming and sugar cane (this drainage reduced the area for natural filtering of water)
d.The Charlotte Harbor Watershed area has been polluted- causes: Phosphate mines, at the headwaters, subdivisions building canals (over 153 miles) without thought of proper water flow, over fertilization of home lawns and the subsequent run off, state agriculture laws that maybe mean well but may not prove out scientifically, failing septic systems, and cut off of proper (natural) water flowstarting at the Gulf backing up all the rivers, streams, etc.
e.Fact: Red tide has been here for a long time, first recorded back in the 1500s; however it has gotten worse because it is an algae that grows faster from “fertilizer” and polluted waters that are full of nitrogen, etc.
Proposed Solutions: - not easy but have to START sometime, somewhere!!
a. Reservoir south of Lake O – land has been purchased for the 1st phase and Fl. Legislature has allocated 50% of the cost, waiting on Congress to approve their 50% - take approximately 5 years to build
b.In 2008 Governor Charlie Crist signed an option to purchase more acreage for additional reservoirs, but only a small portion has been acted upon. Many of the options run out in 2020.
a.Write a personal impact statement describing what you see/happenings (Pictures help) and send it to our local, state and federal officials. Postage stamped letters receive the most attention – also e-mail and/or call 1-888-343-0515, then push *. Will connect to your representative – leave a message which are recorded and monitored.
b.Stay Informed: Subscribe to Calusa Waterkeeper facebook page/South Florida Clean Water Movement facebook page/Captains for Clean Water facebook page./Suncoast Water keepers facebook page.
c.Suggested reading: The Swamp: The Everglades, Fl. and Politics of Paradise by Michael Grunwald.
d.Contact all friend and relatives in other states, etc. and ask them to contact their congress representatives and request support of the Everglades projects.
e.Participate in rallies, sign petitions – but always in a polite, orderly manner.
f.Mosaic request for mines at the headwaters of the Peace river were denied by the
County BCC, which was the first time they had ever received a denial. This is the last large deposit of phosphate in Florida. They are a billion $ company, so this was only the first round of a long fight, they need our support when Mosaic changes their request and applies again.
Letters Get More Attention than phone calls or e-mails
US Congress Representatives:
Tom Rooney – House of Representatives (202) 225-5792 – 2160 Rayburn House Office Bldg,
Washington, DC 20510
Marco Rubio – Senate (202) 224-3041 - 284 Russell St Office Bldg, Washington, DC 20510
Bill Nelson – Senate (202) 224-5274 “
State of Florida:
House : Michael Grant (850) 717-5075 – 1401 The Capitol, 402 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee 32399
Julio Gonzalez (850) 717-5074 “
Senate: Greg Steube (941) 342-9162 “
Southwest Florida Water Management District, Randall S. Maggard, Chief – 2370 Broad St.,
Brooksville, Fl. 34604