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Welcome to the GET WET! Blog

This is the post excerpt.

All are invited to participate!

Welcome to the blog that is going to keep you informed about water issues!  Political, social, economic, human health, land use… you name it!  It has been my personal goal to educate the public to the need to understand that our water health is dependent on our actions and inaction.

Your community CAN protect your water! Logo Jpeg

Exploring real world environmental concerns must also include social, economic, political, human health, and natural resource implications. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of complicated environmental matters that do not stop at man-made state lines, or international lines of delineation. Water, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), waste, industrial farming, disaster relief, air quality, carbon sequestration, energy production, and fishing industries, to name a few, all encompass multiple disciplines in both its onset and its potential solutions. Educating the public to environmental sciences as a single discipline, taught from a text, within a classroom, whose antithesis is business, does not convey the entire picture.

The GET WET! Project addresses residential water needs by collaborating with local universities, government representatives, businesses, conservation commissions, ENGOs, parents, and community volunteers to assure all interested parties are heard. Focusing on local environmental issues through school-centered, community-based curriculum increases participation and opens a dialogue regarding local resources, jobs, human health, politics, and economics. Allowing the community to decide which of the concerns they feel deserves the most attention provides an autonomy that may be more palatable.

SOUTH FLORIDA AWASH IN COW MANURE State Allows Massive Animal Waste Discharges to Surface and Ground Waters

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Manatee death from red tide (https://www.all-creatures.org/articles/env-red-tide-manatee.html)

Tallahassee — As South Florida waters suffer new outbreaks of both toxic red tides and blue-green algae blooms, a major aggravating factor receives little attention – the rising tide of cow manure and liquid wastes from concentrated animal feeding operations in the region, according to a new analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).  Florida’s permitting system for these CAFOs is so lax that it facilitates huge amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus reaching its waters without any meaningful check or consequences.

The PEER analysis looks at 31 CAFO permits that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued in the seven-county area south of Orlando, with most in Okeechobee County directly to the north of Lake Okeechobee. These facilities hold approximately 90,000 dairy cows producing nearly two billion pounds of manure per year and more than 10 milliongallons of wastewater each day. The PEER analysis breaks down the ultimate destination of this huge waste stream.

“There is far greater focus on the massive discharges of nutrient-laden water from Lake O than on how these nutrients ended up there in the first place,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney, pointing out that just these 31 CAFOs annually generate net amounts in excess of 20 million pounds of nitrogen and 7.5 million pounds of phosphorous available for discharge into the environment.  “Despite obviously large impacts, Florida officially presumes that these CAFOs are not a source of pollution through a special brand of regulatory wishful thinking.”

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Concentrated animal feeding operation (Wiki Image, 2007)

The DEP permit system merely asks CAFOs to follow management practices and to report the amount of waste applied but does not look at where the wastes ultimately go.  In addition, the state permits –

  • Allow CAFOs to build and operatewaste management systems that fail in major storm events, e.g. hurricanes and floods, knowing that they will not be held liable for pollution during these events;
  • Contain few safeguards against groundwater contamination. None of the permits set specific limits on the amount of fecal coliform, nitrogen, phosphorus, ortho phosphate, or turbidity that may enter the groundwater; and
  • Rely on CAFO best management practices that are often “suggested” rather than mandatory. Words such as “should” are frequently used, leaving pollution control as largely aspirational in nature, with permit conditions that are typically unenforceable.

“Florida’s CAFO permitsdo not tell the DEP, or the public, the volume of contaminates each facility is discharging each month,” added Phillips, noting that there have been only 5 enforcement actions taken by the DEP against these facilities and that all but one of them were over a decade old.  “The cumulative effects of this ongoing, unabated pollution burden on Florida’s waters is now taking an undeniable toll, prompting state of emergency declarations. It is not just the chickens, but the dairy cows too. that are coming home to roost.”

https://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/south-florida-awash-in-cow-manure.html

 

 

JUST A REMINDER: REEF FRIENDLY SUNSCREENS!!

Skincare Chemical Threatens Coral Reefs

Common chemical is used in thousands of products to protect against harmful effects of ultraviolet light.

sunscreen-beachScientists have discovered that a common chemical used to protect against the damaging effects of ultraviolet light is highly toxic to juvenile corals and other marine life.

 

For more information from the site:  https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/nov15/sunscreen-corals.html

Since this report there have been found to be three major chemicals in sunscreens that affect coral reefs.  Please Google reef friendly sunscreens BEFORE you slather up and jump in the water:

 

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Water Warning in Lee County

Cyanobacteria Lake O 6.2018NOAA satellite images showing progression of cyanobacteria in Lake Okeechobee, from June 12 to June 24, 2018.
WATER WARNING: LEE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH REMINDS RESIDENTS AND VISITORS TO AVOID CONTACT WITH ALGAE
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There is never a good time for bad water quality but summer holidays make it critical that we get the word out.
A blue-green algae bloom that covers a majority of Lake Okeechobee and miles of river and estuary has tested positive for toxins. Please avoid contact with green water. Boating through blooms can release toxins. Do not eat fish caught in green water. Pets and livestock should also stay out of green water.
The Florida Poison Information Centers are available 24/7 365 days per year to answer questions related to health issues from harmful algal blooms, including cyanobacteria. Their toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222.
The Lee County Dept of Health issued the following warning:
unnamed (1)Lee County, Fla. – The Florida Department of Health in Lee County (DOH) is issuing a health advisory for the Alva Boat Ramp, Davis Boat Ramp, and Franklin Locks based on water sampling results from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP conducted sampling in the area and
found the presence of Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. When algae is visible, DOH recommends individuals using the boat ramp avoid contact with the water. DEP will continue to monitor the Alva Boat Ramp, Davis Boat Ramp, and Franklin Locks and post updates on their website.
Blue-green algae can cause gastrointestinal effects if swallowed. Children and pets are especially vulnerable, so keeping them away from the water during a bloom is especially important. Additional information on blue-green algae is available here. If you spot blue-green algae, please contact Kalina Warren, environmental administrator with DEP’s Water Quality Assessment Program for the South Region at 407-897-4177.
Contact:
Florida Department of Health in Lee County
407-897-4177
FOR MORE INFORMATION FROM SOURCE:  Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation | 3333 Sanibel Captiva RoadSanibel, FL 33957

Florida Legislators OK Plan to Dump Sewage Into Drinking-Water Aquifers

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Miamians get nearly all of their drinking water from the Biscayne Aquifer, a clean source of natural H2O that stretches underground from the southern tip of the state north to Palm Beach County. This being Florida, developers, utility companies, and scammers of all stripes are constantly devising new and ingenious ways to contaminate the aquifer. The water system already faces serious threats from sea-level rise and saltwater leaking from Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station.

Now the state Legislature has decided to allow companies to dump “treated” sewage into drinking-water sources.

 

READ MORE HERE:  http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/florida-bill-allows-sewage-dumping-in-drinking-water-aquifers-10159304

STUDENTS WIN FIRST AND THIRD

Once again, students from Oxbridge Academy beat out the college students to win research prizes for their independent studies regarding water health and community

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investment.  Studies ranged among:  fishing waste, fisherman attitudes towards bait management, St. Lucie River Estuary Algal plumes, edible plastics for bait bags, septic system effects on local beaches, and the effects of sunscreens on our coral reefs.  Well Done you amazing young people!

 

For more info: https://www.swfwrc.org/

 

STUDENT WINS FIRST PLACE

Martina was the first high school student to ever win first place!  She was working on sunscreens, their effects on coral reefs, and consumer awareness.  She’s a SUPERSTAR!Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 8.03.06 AMoxbridgeacademy  Congrats to Martina Cavard on winning the poster contest in the American Water Resources Association Annual (AWRA) Conference held in Oregon! Oxbridge was the only high school at the conference and Martina competed against undergraduate and graduate students for this award. Well done Martina!

 

 

PROTECT SOILS AND SOURCE WATERS WHEN DE-ICING

Remember that CaCl may be a better solution than NaCl for ice control. Salt can damage metals and concrete as well as kill vegetation and seep into source waters.  Calcium on the other hand is needed for plant growth!

Check in with your local extension office for recommendations! (https://nifa.usda.gov/extension)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 8.26.24 PMTaken from: www.extension.purdue.edu

For more information regarding salt damage:

https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/id/id-412-w.pdf