The members of Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) submitted comments opposing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers' (Corps) proposed Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States" under the Clean Water Act.
Last month, Waterkeepers Florida (WKFL) submitted a memo opposing a Florida bill, SB 1552, that would combat red tide in Florida. Red Tide is caused by an alga called Karenia brevis which can be harmful to both humans and the environment. While red tide has occurred naturally in Florida for many centuries, human-induced conditions like nutrient loading from land-based runoff can make blooms of this alga much worse. In the summer of 2018, both the east and west coast of Florida experienced red tide which resulted in fish kills along the coasts and even caused respiratory and other health issues for humans.
Toxins from Red Tide can kill fish, like this one in Palm Beach County in 2018. Photo credit: Susie Cox
Recently, a status report on sanitary sewer overflows in Miami-Dade County was released. The report covers the period of July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 and is required as part of the County's federally-mandated Consent Decree agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. During this status report period, there were a total of 47 Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) with a combined total volume of 649,491 gallons of sewage released into the environment.
Miami Dade Water and Sewer workers unclog an impeller blocked with wipes and other debris. Photo Credit: Miami Herald
Miami Waterkeeper student, Casey Dresbach, recently completed her Honor's thesis with the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and participated in a poster session where she described her project. Casey used ArcGIS to study Brownfields within Miami-Dade County.
Florida Power and Light has proposed plans to keep its 1970s-era nuclear reactors and cooling canal system at its Turkey Point facility in operation until the 2050s. These plants were originally set to be shut down in 2032. Many concerns surround the proposed plans for the operation extension, ranging from pollution of the Bay and aquifer to impacts to the federally listed American Crocodile to sea level rise risks. These concerns center largely around the continued operation of the Cooling Canal System - an industrial wastewater system used to cool the nuclear reactors. The troubled and controversial canal system is currently undergoing a $200 million cleanup effort for previous environmental impacts, including the spread of a saltwater plume threatening to pollute the Biscayne Aquifer, the region’s drinking water. And guess what -- FPL just got permission to charge YOU to clean it up.
As sea levels rise, high-tide flooding has worsened in many coastal cities on the east coast like Miami. As these flood waters recede, they carry excess toxic pollutants and nutrients into rivers, bays, lakes, and coastal waters.
The Army Corps of Engineers recently released a status report on their upcoming dredging project at Port Everglades. The report announced that the project has now been delayed to 2021.
Last week, our Executive Director & Waterkeeper, spoke to OneMBA participants at the University of Miami. The OneMBA is a global executive MBA program that builds real-world business knowledge and cultivates real-life relationships. Through immersive in-country residencies, global teamwork, project collaborations, and a challenging multicultural curriculum, this program is offered in partnership the University of Miami Business School as its new American partner.
On April 2, 2019, Agriculture Commissioner Nicole "Nikki" Fried highlighted key issues facing Florida's natural lands and waterways. She sponsored a resolution, signed by Governor DeSantis and the entire cabinet, recognizing the month of April as Water Conservation Month in the state of Florida.
The Florida Department of health monitors beaches throughout the state as part of the Florida Healthy Beaches Program for enterococci bacteria and then determines whether those beaches are safe for swimming or not.
Enterococci are bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal track of humans and animals. The presence of this bacteria can be an indication of fecal pollution, which may come from stormwater runoff, pets and wildlife, and human sewage. Exposure to these bacteria while swimming or recreating on the water may cause disease, infections, or rashes.
If an enterococci result exceeds 70 colony forming units per 100 mL of beach water sampled, and a resampling also exceeds this value, then an "advisory" would be issued for the sampling site. This advisory is a warning to those who want to swim or recreate that the area is not safe to do so.