Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

July 1, 2016

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

I thought this was going to be a documentary but I changed my mind. It’s a horror movie. It’s a like Steven King and Carl Hiaasen got together and wrote a book about how Big Sugar created a blob that would take over the world. Then  Wes Craven directed and we’re all we are missing is Johnny Depp.

Here’s the thing. It’s real and its happening now!

Toxic Blue Green Algae filled with poison  is coagulating on our shores.

How did this happen?

Virtually no lake water was sent south through the means we have thru SFWMD. They sent water from the EAA. (big sugar) The board of Governors is appointed by the Govenor and they were given directions last year. They also got a new leader who was the in house council to Rick Scott.  There would be no land buy. There would be no reservoir.

Despite the fact the projects that were being worked on will do nothing to stop these discharges we were ignored, vilified, made fun of. Instead of coming to the table and dealing with the issue there was immense propaganda put out against the real solution. Millions of dollars spent by the sugar industry so they can get their way.

Legislators and Politicians playing games with our water.

The army corp of engineers has been given billions of dollars to make sure the dike does not fail but they will never let the water get high because they are afraid.  This past year there was virtually no water sent south through the means that we have. What they sent was not from the lake it was from the sugar lands. The sugar people keep their water at a certain height for the cane to grow- so when it rained and they knew it was going to rain it flooded the fields. Then they back pumped the water back into the lake and then big sugar blamed the back pumping on SfWMD – mincing words and not taking any responsibility and made it about the people that are living out there – who are essentially held hostage by the sugar corporations.  No one wants anything to happen to the people that live at Lake O contrary to to the propaganda put out there.

Those fields were filled with nutrients, fertilizers and pesticides which fueled the algae bloom that came to us and now its everywhere. It’s coagulating and it stinks.

Our water is not being managed. The people who manage at SFWMD need to be replaced and the only way this get done is through the legislature. So call your State Reps, senators and board of county commission members and tell them to stand up and let us know what they are going to do now to fix this issue. We the citizens cannot do anything else.  We tell the truth and big sugar launches propaganda campaigns against us. They have taken over the Martin County economic council.  They run propaganda ads in our newspapers.


You see the photos. You cannot imagine the smell. It is putrid and it smells like death.

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

Over 300 people attended the emergency meeting this past Tuesday  with Martin County Commissioners over the blue-green algae that is killing our waterways.

The Army Corps of Engineers couldn’t make it to the emergency meeting due to what they called short notice.  Rick Scott was in West Palm Beach, meeting with local county and city leaders about the Zika virus. He couldn’t be bothered to show. He says the state has spent more than $700 million over the last 5 years on projects to reduce adverse environmental impacts from discharges from Lake Okeechobee. However, he says the problem lies in Washington. This we know is not quite true. It’s very sad when your politicians use politics instead of doing the right thing and Rick Scott is right on the top of that list. Rick Scott needs to get real and do the right thing. He’s got a lot of money from big sugar for his senate campaign so don’t buy the he’s an independent man baloney that he sold you when he was running. What he forgot to say was that he stole our amendment one that was suppose to fix this issue. Yes there are other issues in Florida but only two places are getting intentionally poisoned.

Martin County Commissioners held a great meeting. They made sure that every citizen was  heard. This is why we live here. Because in an emergency we band together and find the correct solution. But we can’t get anywhere until the politicians become real.

irene gomes at martin county emergency meeting

Irene Gomes at martin county emergency meeting

The crowd was the largest they have seen in years, and spilled out into the lobby. Public comment lasted well over three hours. The crowd was raucous. I would expect no less. If anyone has an issue with this its too bad. Get over it. Our waterways are filled with toxic blue green algae and its coagulating and it smells like death. Any critic is invited to come for a whiff.

Commissioners voted unanimously and requested the following: state and federal emergency declarations, President Obama to visit and view the disaster and an immediate end to the Lake O discharges that have been fouling our waterways for months.

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

Gayle Harrell, our state rep, who voted for fracking and to take away our local control talked about the dike and changing the LORS schedule. I heard this three years ago at another meeting so she has had ample time to figure it out. She was part of the group that  stole our amendment one money,  put it into a project that not even close to what we need and called Legacy and what it does  nothing that will help us stop the discharges.  She was afraid to go against leadership because they would punish her by giving her a parking space in Georgia and take away committees she is really competent to serve on. She did ask for a halt for three weeks of the discharges to give us a temporary flush. She also asked to hold more water in the chain of Lakes up north.
Mary Lynn Magar, who also voted for fracking and to take away our local control,  said she contacted the DEP and apparently she thinks they are going to do something for us besides take a sample and then in a month say its non toxic. Why would they start to protect us now. I’m sure Drew Bartlett who is in charge up there is high fiving his sugar buddies on the success of destroying us.

According to Charles Grande, former St Lucie County Commissioner. “It’s far too much to believe we can store our way out of the problem. The water has to go south, and it has to go all the way south rehydrating the Everglades and ending up in Florida Bay to correct their hypersalinity. We are getting no more water from the north than we have gotten historically. It makes no sense to try to store it up there, there’s just too much of it. Storage east and west helps with local runoff but it has no effect on the discharges. We need dynamic storage (the Flowway) south of the lake and the ACOE has already told us exactly where it must be. The solution is known.”

Jacqui Thurlow Lippish  wants to make sure we document this and also document the health issues. She advocating for the children in Rio who are living next to this. She said “We need your full support to stop the releases from Lake Okeechobee forever!”  She said there  is no algae in c23 or 24 they are not falloff algae. The algae is in c44 and the lake. Of course everyone ignores this.

Mark Perry said he has never seen it this bad and reminded us that the blue green started in 2004. He said people need to use extreme caution. Over 140 billion gallons of FRESH WATER have been sent through our locks. (Precious fresh water that the state of Florida is wasting is being sent out to sea. ) Mark said the Governor needs to come. He is right. He needs to smell what we have to smell.

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!

Toxic Algae State of Emergency!
Mark Perry, Darrel Brand and Charles Grande at the River’s Coalition Meeting

He said enough is enough. We need to buy the land and send clean water south. There was a lot of love in the room for Mark because he is one of our greatest leaders and knows how to do this.
Mike Connor came forward told us to get rid of the notion that this is our septic tanks and reminded us that algae blooms only start in FRESH WATER. He said he has never seen a bigger emergency in his life.

Mike Glynn implored the BOCC to be heroic. To pull the counties together and go to tally tell Rick Scott to get off his ass. To change the political will.  He implored the BOCC to be the leaders.
The manager of central marina talked about the health risk to her employees at the marina. This is very intense at her Marina. She wanted to know if there was any air testing. She said the smell is horrid it makes you gag. It is. I go there for 3 minutes every day and I have no idea how these people work there.

Maggy Hurchella who has been here done this bought the the t-shirt said we need to write to our Governor, president and senators to scientifically  assess the risk. She asked if there was any one in the room who disagreed with buying the land and send the water south. No one said no.  Maggy said that anyone that has runoff going into the run away needs to be responsible for that runoff. She said the extreme runoff is making it worse for everyone. She said we can’t wait 20 years. Her suggestion is to exercise the option to buy the sugar land. We could so water farming immediately and then build the resevoir. She said we must stand together and work together. and she is right.

“Buy the land and convey clean water south where it needed.” Marty Baum, Indian Riverkeeper

The Martin County BOCC  asked that Rick Scott   declare a renewed State of Emergency before we see a complete collapse of our ecosystem and economy, and implore the federal government to exercise all options to move water away from the estuaries.”

They said “Our local water conditions have worsened in the last several months. The current discharges from Lake Okeechobee have contributed to toxic algae blooms throughout the water system.”

Additionally, Martin County has requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers immediately suspend Lake Okeechobee discharges through the St. Lucie Lock until the algae bloom conditions approve. The County believes this unprecedented action will provide some relief.

Martin County has formally invited Governor Scott to visit the area and witness the devastation firsthand. The County will also be inviting President Obama. The County pledges its support to finding solutions to these most critical issues.
Fresh water is one of most precious resources. In our system our precious water is wasted. It doesn’t need to go east and west.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to the “toxic green algae” that is invading waterways throughout St. Lucie, Martin Counties. Scott’s office says the Executive Order will allow state and local governmental agencies to take swift action to mitigate the spread of the blooms in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries by redirecting the flow of water in and out of Lake Okeechobee. Governor Scott is also directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to take specific actions to address the issues caused by blooms.

A little too late. The damage is done.

To achieve the reduction in Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie River, water managers will immediately limit flows coming into the Lake. Water managers say they plan to hold more water north of Lake Okeechobee, in the Kissimme Chain of Lakes. They’re also looking at options for sending more Lake O water south. This includes the C-51 canal, which empties into the Lake Worth Lagoon. The Palm Beach Post  apparently does not own a map of the area so they are just blaming it on what ever else they can find because they would not want to upset the sugar farmers that live within its borders and loose those good advertising dollars.

Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio both sent letters to the Army Corp of Engineers asking them to immediately stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee. We appreciate!

Martin County has set up a hotline for people to call to get information about beach closings. The number is 772-320-3112.

Doctors say prolonged exposure to the algae for those with respiratory or cardiac issues can put residents at risk. The Director of Clinical Research for Martin Health System says those with sinus or lung problems, weakened immune systems, and anyone with a chronic disease should avoid exposure to the water where toxic algae is present. Doctors and Martin County Commissioners are advocating for long term studies to see if it increases cancers, Alzheimer’s or kidney disease. The Centers for Disease Control says swimming in it can burn your skin.  Swallowing it and can damage your liver, or your pet’s.

Hotels in Jensen Beach say that people are canceling their reservations, and tourists that are already here are mad because in some cases they spent thousands of dollars to come here, but can’t even swim in the ocean. Businesses are also hurting, calling the beaches a ghost town.

Within hours of Nelson touring the toxic St Lucie River yesterday, the US Army Corps Of Engineers announced that they will dial back the 1.5 billion gallons a day it has been dumping from Lake O, but the Corps won’t close the locks completely. Col. Jason Kirk with the Army Corp of Engineers said that visiting with local officials on Wednesday and seeing the algae first hand compelled them to action. Senators Nelson and Marco Rubio also want FEMA here, calling it a disaster. A major concern raised by Nelson is that Governor Scott, while declaring a State of Emergency, has yet to ask the federal government for aid and that is holding up any chance businesses from getting any financial relief. That detail is holding up any chance businesses will get for any financial relief from this pollution.

7/1/2016 Marco Rubio is here right now. He thinks they can hold more water in the north and he thinks its a good idea to hold off the discharges and have a federal state of emergency and have the CDC come down and study the long term affects. He declines to say that the sugar industry had anything to do with the mess we are in. Even though this algae bloom began in Pahokee and came to us from there.

Marco Rubio! Check out Kait Parker’s photo that she took May 10th in Pahokee. It started there and it came here.

Marco if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck its an elephant.

He wants:

Discharges stopped for a few weeks

emergency  federal declaration from the President (Rick Scott has to do this and if he is doesn’t we are screwed)

Thank you SFWMD, Florida Legislators, Rick Scott! You have destroyed us!

If I have made any glaring mistakes please feel free to email me at








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