The continuing northern advance of the toxic red tide bloom on Florida’s west coast that began last February now stretches from Sanibel Sound to St Petersburg. In its wake, the beaches are piled with dead sea life from fish to sea turtles and manatees. Beachgoers are a rare sight as people are doing their best to avoid the chronic coughing and running eyes caused by the airborne toxins. Local restaurants and hotels are reporting a 40% decline in business. Red Tide is now an environmental, social and economic disaster.

Many sea captains and people familiar with the marine environment attribute the longevity and severity of this bloom to the releases of nutrient rich waters from Lake Okeechobee. This obvious source of nutrients is especially suspicious this year as the west coast is now also getting slimy green algae, a fresh water variety that is a signature of Lake Okeechobee.
For years, environmentalists have advocated for a “Water South” policy that ends the dumping of Okeechobee’s polluted water into our rivers and replaces it with an integrated system that runs it over purchased Sugar land though filtering Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs). This approach keeps the nutrient laden Okeechobee runoff out of our waterways and provides a much-needed source of water to the drying portions of the Everglades.

Join START in a call to action to your federal and state representatives to finally address this perennial problem with the necessary infrastructure to stop the problem at its source.

You can reach your federal representatives through their website as follows:

Senator Bill Nelson
Senator Marco Rubio
Congressman Vern Buchanan

Your State Representatives can be emailed:
Senator Bill Galvano
Senator Jeff Brandes
Senator Greg Steube
Representative Margaret Good
Representative Jim Boyd
Representative Julio Gonzales

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