Monday, May 7, 2012

New Website

The MRC is about to launch a new website! It looks great and should be going live within the next week. There will be a few changes to the water quality page and water quality data entry. You will need to create a username and password for yourself, from there everything else should remain the same. If there are any issues with entering the data on the new site, please notify me immediately. 
Thanks Volunteers!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Look Out for Algae!

Hey Everyone!
It's that time of year again, the weather is starting to get warmer and we've got to start being on the look out for emerging algal blooms. Last year, the historically long lasting algal bloom began in the Cocoa area towards the end of May. If you see any signs of algal blooms at your site (discolored murky water, low DO, lots of dead fish) , please take a picture and send it to me at lagoonwatch@mrcirl.org.

Also, I would like to thank those of you that wrote me letters of support for the Oyster Reef Restoration grant that I have been working on. They will really help out in the evaluation process! I'll find out in early fall if we will be receiving any funding. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we do!


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Welcome New Lagoonwatch Volunteers!

Last Saturday we had a very successful Lagoonwatch volunteer training session here at the Lagoon House. We welcomed 6 new volunteers who will be monitoring several areas where testers are much needed!
Let's give a warm welcome to the following new volunteers:
Robin Schapiro
Halley Flannagan
Amanda Frathing
Alan Northcott
Casey Keeler
Hank Kriss

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thank You 10 Year Volunteers!!!

It has recently been brought to my attention that we have some very long standing volunteers whom, as of 2012, have been volunteering with us for 10 years! I would like to recognize these volunteers now:

Lagoonwatch 10 Year Volunteers
Pete Kersey 
Dean and Vera Zimmerman 
Mel Woodford
Tom and Vijay Saam 

Thank you for all your hard work! Without dedicated volunteers like yourselves, the Lagoonwatch program would not be what it is today!
The MRC plans to formally recognize and thank these volunteers at this year's annual membership meeting in October!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Good News for Florida Water Quality

Over the past few months the state of Florida has been trying to propose alternative plans for the EPA set nitrogen and phosphorus limits in Florida water bodies. These plans were generally less stringent than the EPA set standards. In February a Tallahassee judge ruled that Florida must comply with EPA nutrient limits. These rules were effective as of yesterday. Good news! See the article below for more detail.



News Press, Fort Myers, Feb. 19, 2012 




Judge orders Florida water pollution limits


A Southwest Florida conservation official is calling a federal judge’s ruling on clean water limits a total victory for the environment. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle’s ruling in Tallahassee on Saturday ended years of delays in setting and enforcing specific limits on sewage, manure and fertilizer contamination in Florida waters. The rules must take effect March 6, Hinkle ruled.

“It was a victory on everything we wanted, except for a few technical details,” said Andrew McElwaine, president and CEO of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples, one of several plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

“For us, on our coast, it was particularly important,” McElwaine said. “Between the Caloosahatchee and Peace rivers we really need these standards. We are on the receiving end of so much pollution.”  McElwaine said the ruling sets standards on the amount of the foreign substances permitted in state waters; before, the rule simply urged polluters to set their own limits. “This defines trouble,” he said. “And the Caloosahatchee is nothing but a troubled river.”

McElwaine said that what will likely happen next is an appeal and possibly a request for a stay of the ruling. “It will be interesting to see what will happen with the appeal, given how emphatic the judge was,” he said. “And I would be surprised if a stay is granted.”  McElwaine said that the plaintiffs’ two requests not granted, minor technical details, were assigned to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are to be decided by May.

The pollutants mentioned in the ruling feed algae blooms in lakes and streams. The blooms can cause health problems in humans and can be fatal to wildlife.  Earthjustice filed a Clean Water Act federal lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of environmental groups seeking limits on the pollutants in Florida.

Hinkle’s ruling upholds limits set in 2009 by the EPA. The agency said the limits are necessary to meet Clean Water Act requirements. The federal limits replace a state rule requiring studies of algae blooms, but no preventive measures.

Besides the Conservancy, joining Earthjustice in the challenge was the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida and St. Johns Riverkeepers.
The 2008 lawsuit filed by Earthjustice argued that the federal Clean Water Act wasn’t being enforced in Florida, despite a ruling in 1998 ordering states to comply with an EPA edict to set verifiable limits on nutrient discharges that are largely responsible for algae blooms and other degradation of inland waters.

In 2009, the EPA set numeric limits for the phosphorus and nitrogen that come from sewage, fertilizer and manure in Florida waters. But in November, the state DEP sent Washington an alternative, a slate of draft rules for state numeric measuring of nutrients, and EPA announced that it was likely to approve them.

Opponents of the EPA rules said there’s no scientific reasoning behind numeric limits on pollution, and contend that the criteria would force costly upgrades of facilities. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

February Data

Hello Lagoonwatch,
I just finished analyzing the data for February. Looks like the water quality has been continuing to improve. The link on the bottom right will take you to our monthly water quality grade, which is looking pretty good compared to last summer and fall. Lots of A's and B's!!! Also, we will be having a WQ training day at the Lagoon House on March 31st at 10am for several new volunteers. If you would like to attend the session to refresh and refine your sampling skills, just drop me an email and let me know, and we'd be happy to have you join us!

Thanks to everyone who filled out an oyster survey. If you haven't already, please get that to me at your earliest convenience.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy March Everyone!
Just wanted to remind you all to please email me your February QA results if you haven't already. Also, thanks to those of you who have responded to the oyster survey that I sent out. If you haven't returned it to me yet, please do so at your earliest convenience:)