Florida Wetlands Forever, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), incorporated in the State of Florida, founded and managed by a small contingent of dedicated Florida Sportsmen. Our mission is to restore wetlands in Florida by providing funding, insight, and expertise for projects that restore clean water, restore wetland habitat, and by funding independent scientific study that is not being done. We will fund these projects through donations and grants to our organization and through partnerships. Currently we are taking donations by check, credit card, and PayPal. Checks can be made out to Florida Wetlands Forever, Inc. and mailed to P.O. Box 60943, Palm Bay, FL 32906. Donations are tax deductible.
15 February 2018
In an upcoming edition of the international journal, a recently published article by Dr. Peter Barile, Senior Scientist at Marine Research & Consulting, Inc. in Melbourne, Florida, reports findings from a two-year study that discriminated significant sources of nitrogen pollution fueling the Indian River Lagoon system’s algal blooms. Specifically, Dr. Barile used nitrogen isotope methods and tissue biochemistry analyses of macro-algae (seaweed) bloom species to indicate differences in nitrogen sources along the Lagoon-system, from Jupiter to New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
The published study findings indicate:
1) Human-sewage nitrogen, from the Lagoon-region’s inadequate and malfunctioning municipal wastewater infrastructure (including partially-treated wastewater plant discharges) and septic tank effluent, is the primary nitrogen-source supporting macro-algal blooms along most of the Lagoon system.
2) At only a few of the 70 sites assessed along the Lagoon-system were other nitrogen sources, such as fertilizer, nitrogen deposition, or nitrogen-fixation (by toxic cyanobacteria), more important than human wastewater as a primary nitrogen source.
3) Elevated levels of phosphorus in macro-algae were common in urbanized portions of the Lagoon-system adjacent to areas with municipal wastewater plants and high-density septic tank systems. Phosphorus was removed from urban fertilizer in Florida following passage of Florida’s Urban Turf rule in 2007, leaving human wastewater as a significant phosphorus source to algae during rainy periods.
4) Support of findings from other scientists that the Indian River Lagoon’s harmful algal blooms become more nitrogen-enriched, particularly during wetter years with higher rainfall totals, often associated with tropical storm events and El Nino-driven rainy seasons. As such, external nitrogen loading, rather than internally-derived "muck," appears to be more important to algal bloom expansion in the Lagoon.
5) Indian River Lagoon’s resource managers should mitigate human sewage nitrogen sources that support harmful algal blooms by: 1) improving municipal wastewater infrastructure, including conversion to Advanced Wastewater Treatment to remove more nitrogen and phosphorus, and 2) septic to sewer conversion upgrades in high density developments where poor soils and high rainy season water tables contribute to mobilization of septic tank effluent to the Lagoon-system. The wastewater infrastructure upgrades in both Tampa Bay and Sarasota Bay have resulted in improved water quality and expansion of seagrasses, both important benchmarks for restoration of the Indian River Lagoon system.
The study was supported by Florida Wetlands Forever, Inc. a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) interested in the restoration of estuarine and freshwater wetland systems in Florida. Interview inquiries may be directed to: John Hitchcock, President- FWLF, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please visit our Priorities and Projects page. It gives our contributors and idea of where funding will be headed. Florida Wetlands Forever will always be a statewide organization. That being said; some of our projects will be regional in nature and will be driven by opportunities as they present themselves. Projects may include scientific research, monitoring, or partnerships to facilitate restoration, or consultation. We will focus on opportunities that maximize results and meet our mission goals. As we grow, new projects will be added to our projects list.
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