+1 vote
Save Our Waters
Dear Ellen:

If you search for the city of Stuart, Florida, on the Internet, you will
see it was voted Coastal Living’s “Happiest Seaside Town” of 2016. In 2016 we have also seen one of the worst human caused natural tragedies in Florida.

We are not happy. We are outraged, horrified, and heartbroken. Once pristine blue beaches are now CLOSED for the first time in Martin County history as we watch our ecosystem suffocate from toxic cyanobacteria. Our beloved estuary, a unique breeding ground for marine species, is suffocating from near zero salinity levels. A governor who has failed to protect our most precious natural resource, some residents’ source of income, the biodiversity it so uniquely houses, and our legacy for many natives of this strong community has neglected us for years on this pressing issue to pursue other interests. This now must take priority.

In 1962, Rachel Carson wrote about the destruction of our environment due to pesticides and chemical use in *Silent *Spring, now we are becoming a Silent River as our community is pummeled with thousands of gallons of toxic freshwater *every day *from Lake Okeechobee in central South Florida. Cyanobacteria in Lake Okeechobee is twenty times over safe levels according to the World Health Organization. Those levels are rising in our own backyard each day this issue is unaddressed. What makes this freshwater toxic? Nutrient dense water from agricultural fertilizers are back pumped into lake Okeechobee. “Big Sugar” poisons our rivers and also funds some of our government leaders. Connecting the dots?

South Florida’s water crisis needs to reach President Obama, the EPA, CDC, and national attention. The President recently visited Martin County to enjoy a few games of golf, the river was suffering then. Perhaps this isn’t an “immediate concern” to government leaders because it has been an issue for years, it involves political interests, and it’s environmental. The fact of the matter is that there is a solution: buy the land south of Lake Okeechobee to relieve this massive release of toxic freshwater into systems that will soon, if not already, be unable to recover from such drastic damage.

This week the toxic algae blooms lap up against homes, businesses, and beaches. Residents and tourists stay on land due to warnings posted by the Martin County Health Department to avoid the water at all costs. Our marine and estuarine educational centers cancel camp activities and interactive exhibits to avoid contact with toxic water. Next week the manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and other keystone species will let you know this is an imminent issue that will have lasting effects and dire consequences if inaction continues.

Please help us spread the word by putting pressure on our leaders to move forward into action.
61 views Jun 30, 2016
C_McKee 130 points

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