Monday, July 11, 2016

Florida's algae-fighting plan criticized by feds over endangered bird impact

Florida’s decision to fight a massive algae bloom by temporarily holding more water north of Lake Okeechobee is drawing criticism from federal wildlife officials who say the rising water is threatening 10 nests of an endangered bird. The South Florida Water District sent letters to Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio on Friday, alerting them to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s request that it lower water in the Kissimmee River Valley to June 27 levels to protect the snail kite nests. The district raised the water level by 1.4 feet to slow the amount flowing into the lake. That reduced the amount of nutrient-laden water flowing from the lake into the St. Lucie River, where a massive algae bloom recently clogged parts with a guacamole-thick green sludge. That sludge angered residents, threatened fish, fouled the air and drove away tourists. The reduction has reduced the amount of algae on the river, but the lake now has a 200-square mile bloom, more than a quarter of its surface...more

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