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.
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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.
Florida Department of Health in Lee County
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


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


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/



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!




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:


Oxbridge senior finishing up 2-year research project on algae blooms

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 4.25.35 PMPosted: 10:31 a.m. Monday, October 23, 2017

While his classmates at Oxbridge Academy spent their summers traveling, on the beach or in dozens of other pursuits, senior Robbie Linck spent his in a lab in Jupiter and in the field, doing research on algae blooms within Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie Watershed.

Linck’s project evaluates whether groundwater samples taken from the St. Lucie Watershed contain sucralose, an indicator of the presence of human feces. His findings will assist in determining whether improperly functioning septic systems are a contributing factor to algae growth in the area waterways. He’ll present his findings at the American Water Resource’s Association’s Annual Conference in November.

A native of Palm Beach, Linck has been engrossed in his research project for two years.

Q: How did you get started on the project?

A:It was through the program (Oxbridge teacher Dr. Teresa Thornton) started, “GET WET,” in conjunction with the University of Maine, that I’m able to even do this kind of work at my age.

Q: And then?

A: My research began as a semester-long biology project, but quickly transitioned into the two-year study that I’m still working on today. I chose the issue of algae blooms, and, with the help of Dr. Thornton, I was connected with BioTools, a Jupiter-based biotechnology company, where I conducted a large part of my research

Q: Which do you enjoy more: field research or work in the lab?

A: To be honest, I like them both. Working in the field and getting to really know the area that I’ve been focusing on was very important to me, but using all of the equipment in the lab was equally significant in allowing me to draw conclusions from the samples I’ve collected.

Q: When you’re not in the classroom, the lab or out in the field, how do you stay busy?

A: When I’m not involved in my scientific research, I’m almost always debating. I travel out of town almost every weekend to compete at national debate tournaments and, over the course of my four years at Oxbridge, I have climbed the ranks to now be the number one high school debater in the nation for Public Forum debate, my specific event.

Q: What do you intend to study in college?

A: While I’m passionate about the sciences, over the course of my four years at Oxbridge, I’ve simultaneously developed a love for government, ethics, mathematics and economics. I’m not entirely sure of the field that I want to pursue, but I’m definitely looking for something that will allow me the flexibility to pursue all my interests as well as to continue to develop my debating and research skills.


For more information:  http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/local/oxbridge-senior-finishing-year-research-project-algae-blooms/tcbyM7SfnLydhuBblLtrmK/

The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics


Scientists have estimated that between 5 million and 13 million metric tons of plastic are put into the ocean each year. CreditGuillermo Cervera

If human civilization were to be destroyed and its cities wiped off the map, there would be an easy way for future intelligent life-forms to know when the mid-20th century began: plastic.

From the 1950s to today, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced, with around half of it made since 2004. And since plastic does not naturally degrade, the billions of tons sitting in landfills, floating in the oceans or piling up on city streets will provide a marker if later civilizations ever want to classify our era. Perhaps they will call this time on Earth the Plastocene Epoch.

A new study in Science Advances published Wednesday offered the first analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured: how much has been made, what kind and what happens to the material once it has outlived its use.

Roland Geyer, the lead author of the study, said, “My mantra is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and without good numbers, you don’t know if we have a real problem.”

The authors, who come from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the University of Georgia and the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Mass., used plastic production data from a variety of sources to make their estimates.

Their findings suggest that staggering amounts of near-eternal litter is present in the environment — the oceans, landfills and freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems — and the numbers are quite likely to increase, with 12 billion metric tons accumulating in landfills or in the environment by 2050. (One metric ton is 1.1 short tons, the measure more commonly used in the United States.)

Scientists estimate that five million to 13 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean each year, according to previous studies. New data suggests contamination in rivers and streams, as well as on land, is increasingly common, with most of the pollution in the form of microscopic pieces of synthetic fibers, largely from clothing.

The primary explanation for the rocketing rise in plastic is its use in packaging, which accounted for about 42 percent of nonfiber plastic production in 2015. Building and construction is the next largest plastic-consuming sector; it used 19 percent of nonfiber plastic that year.

The authors estimate that packaging, which is typically used for less than a year, made up 54 percent of the nonfiber plastic that was thrown away in 2015.


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Most of the plastic that has been made is no longer in use — about 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been thrown away since 1950. About 12 percent of that has been incinerated, which is the only way to permanently dispose of plastic; 9 percent has been recycled, which only delays final disposal; and 60 percent — about 4.9 billion metric tons — is in landfills or scattered in the environment.

In Europe, 30 percent of nonfiber plastic is recycled, compared to 9 percent in the United States. Europe also burns more plastic — about 40 percent of its nonfiber plastic waste — while the U.S. incinerates around 16 percent. China recycles about 25 percent and burns about 30 percent of its plastic waste. The authors estimate that recycling, disposal and incineration rates in the rest of the world are probably similar to those in the United States.

Dr. Geyer cautioned that recycling was not a cure-all for global plastic pollution. He said the sole benefit of recycling was to reduce the amount of new plastic being produced, adding, “We don’t understand very well the extent to which recycling reduces primary production.”

The features that have made plastic so important in the global market are the same ones that make it such a pervasive pollutant: durability and resistance to degradation.

Dr. Geyer said there was not enough information on what the long-term consequences of all this plastic and its disposal would be. “It accumulates so quickly now and it doesn’t biodegrade, so it just gets added to what’s already there.”

“Once we start looking, I think we’ll find all sorts of unintended consequences,” he added. “I’d be very surprised to find out that it is a purely aesthetic problem.”

FOR MORE INFO:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/climate/plastic-pollution-study-science-advances.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

As someone who cleans up plastic waste on the shoreline daily, finds and collects the waste when diving, and is willing to swim into the waters to retrieve grocery bags, bait bags, and other waste; this article meant a great deal.