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Toxic Algae Will Remain After die-off Until Dredging

Posted on July 4, 2016

By Jana Eschbach,

U.S. Senator Nelson and U.S. Senator Rubio want FEMA on the Treasure Coast, calling it a disaster. But Governor Rick Scott, while declaring a State of Emergency, has yet to ask the federal government for aid. That detail is holding up any chance businesses will get for any financial relief from this pollution.

“It’s 1.5 billion of nutrient laden water dumped into a salt water estuary environment– which is illegal and criminal. It should not be so,” said Rufus Wakeman, Charter Fisherman, “if something isn’t done today… years from now it’s a doom scenario.”

This doomsday scenario is the fear of a river dying. Charter Fisherman Rufus Wakeman says he hopes this State of Emergency declaration and toxic algae bloom will get the water pollution problems in Florida fixed, but if not, he says most charter fisherman won’t survive another season of this. He said he is already watching the death of the river like we are seeing with the Indian River Lagoon.

Martin county Commissioner Sarah Heard says part of Everglades Restoration Plan is a lengthy years-long process of dredging and removing the soon-to be millions of tons of toxic muck from our river after the algae bloom dies off. That part of the project, federal and state money.

We have seen the politicians come to the river before and make promises. So what is different this time?

“I have to believe we are not going to destroy the most biodiverse estuary in North America,” said Martin County Commissioner Sarah Heard, “This bloom you see out here is going to die and it’s going to sink and it’s going to become anaerobic and it still will contain those microcystin so they are going to have to be removed.”

While local and federal leaders tour the toxic waters and make declarations of emergencies, those who work near the water fear if a fix isn’t in place after this toxic outbreak, this river will continue its demise, taking livelihoods with it.

“It’s just wrong. It’s just wrong,” Wakeman said choking up,” It’s not good and it’s not fair that we suffer. This is our way of life here in Stuart, Florida, and it is dictated by the river and the condition of the water. We have boat builders here. We have marinas here. We have a lot of people who enjoy the waterways. Without good clean water, they can’t do those things.”

The Department of Environmental Protection is asking people to visit its website to report algae blooms, or call 855-305-3903.


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