Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
Algae Blooms and Red Tide Worsen in South Florida
Last week, we posted about the algae blooms threatening the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries of South Florida, caused by discharges of toxic freshwater from Lake Okeechobee. Last Friday, the Army Corps of Engineers recognized how bad things were getting and slowed the discharges, but that didn’t make the problem go away.
In southwestern Florida, the damage done by the incursion of freshwater and the algae it carries has been compounded by an unprecedented red tide, which is killing sea life. The red tide–caused by a marine dinoflagellate known as Karenia brevis–is a secondary effect of the discharges from the big lake. The excess nutrients in the freshwater feed plankton, and after these organisms die, Karenia brevis goes to work on the recycled nutrients.
The effects of the tide have been devastating, as documented by guide Chris O’Neill in a video that’s been viewed more than 1.2 million times since yesterday. (See above.)