Replumbing South Florida


Banana River, March 2016. Fish kills in the northern part of the Saint Lucie River and Indian River lagoons are caused by local septic, urban and lawn runoff. (Source: Fly Rod & Reel)

From Fly Rod & Reel: After heavy rains last winter the Army Corps of Engineers protected cattle ranchers, dairy farmers and sugarcane growers in Lake Okeechobee’s watershed by dumping their polluted water on distant residents of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The massive, nutrient-laden torrent was vented east down the Saint Lucie River toward Stuart and west through the Caloosahatchee River toward Fort Myers and Sanibel Island.

Atypical only in severity, the diversion added to the ongoing devastation of two sprawling estuaries vital to fish, shellfish, corals, birds and marine mammals.

This time at least 161 cities suffered, many blighted by blooms of toxic cyanobacteria (misleadingly called “blue-green algae”) that kills aquatic life as it nears salt water.

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