“Toxic algae outbreaks slimed Florida’s inland waters this summer, killing wildlife, hurting property values and devastating tourism revenue,” said Manley Fuller, president, Florida Wildlife Federation. Thousands of residents have protested, calling for a statewide emergency management plan to stop the toxic slime.”
The report urges federal public officials to set limits on the amount of phosphorous allowed into waters; to maintain efforts to restore the nation’s great waters, including the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, and others; and to pass a strong Farm Bill that pays farmers to take specific actions to help protect soil and water quality.
Congress’ failure to reauthorize the Farm Bill jeopardizes funding for programs like the Conservation Stewardship program aimed at helping farmers protect water quality through implementation of agricultural best management practices. Those include planting cover crops, restoring wetlands or creating buffer strips to filter farm runoff.
More federal attention to the problem is needed. “The reach and extent of harmful algal blooms has likely been under-reported due to the lack of a national program to track health warnings and lakes closures,” said Alan Wilson, associate professor of limnology at Auburn University. “Regional monitoring networks could help fill this important scientific void, and tell us more about how climate change, land use and nutrient pollution influence HAB frequency and intensity."
The following experts and spokespeople are available to comment nationwide.
Andy Buchsbaum, Regional Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center
Hans Paerl, Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
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