TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. DeSantis to Veto Senate Bill 88

For Big Sugar, it was party time. Last Thursday lobbyists for the powerful sugarcane industry were seen having lunch at the swanky Governor's Club in Tallahassee, popping champagne and exchanging high-fives to celebrate the passage of Senate Bill 88 in the Florida House and Senate. The bill effectively protects Big Sugar — namely U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals — from legal action related to its harmful impacts, including sugarcane burning, which is linked to long-term health problems. Though smoke from the burning cane fields can travel for upwards of 20 miles, SB 88 stipulates that only those who live within half a mile of the agricultural operation could challenge its harmful impact on property values in court. No wonder the [...]

2021-04-28T10:48:04-04:00April 28th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water…

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A BULLSUGAR.ORG MEMBER A visit to the eastern shores of Lake Okeechobee this Earth Day should be accompanied by the ominous tones of the "Jaws" theme song. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, a blue-green algae bloom on the lake is growing. On April 13, satellite imaging showed a potential bloom covering about 150 square miles of the lake. The day before, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection tested cyanobacteria — commonly called blue-green algae — near the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam and measured the toxin microcystin at 22 parts per billion. That's nearly three times the level deemed hazardous by the federal government. Microcystin can cause skin [...]

2021-04-21T14:20:20-04:00April 22nd, 2021|Uncategorized|

Water Quality Standards Needed to Protect Coastal Estuaries

ABOVE: Recent capture of a widespread bloom in Lake Okeechobee near Clewiston. Image by Ralph Arwood of LightHawk Conservation Flying, shared first on Facebook by the Caloosahatchee Waterkeeper. Congressman Byron Donalds should be commended for recently filing a bill requiring that the federal government continue to monitor our waterways for harmful algae blooms, even in the event of a government shutdown. Continuous monitoring of the presence of red tide and blue-green algae is important to inform the public of potential health and safety risks. Unfortunately, there is no threshold that the federal or state government have established for harmful levels of cyanobacteria in blue-green algae or specific focus on managing the source of nutrients that increases the frequency [...]

2021-04-12T11:28:28-04:00April 15th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Fix the FLO

The following article is set to appear in the April edition of Florida Sportsman Magazine. It is reprinted with permission here. Send Lake O water south, before the rainy season,to prevent harmful discharges to the coasts: How it can be done, now. By Blair Wickstrom, Publisher Significant plans to restore the Everglades and stop the damaging discharges to the coastal estuaries have been forged with hope and promise over the last three decades. But here we are, looking at the prospects of another disastrous year for the estuaries—and still very little water flowing into the ‘Glades. It’s time to act. Too much water has been kept in Lake Okeechobee. We need to demand that all efforts are made to begin [...]

2021-04-01T10:19:08-04:00March 29th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Florida Sportsman Guest Post: No and Bad

The following article is set to appear in the April edition of Florida Sportsman Magazine. It has been updated to reflect recent legislation and reprinted with permission here. No and Bad, that’s what we have in Tallahassee, and the 2021 session, right now. No meaningful new legislation, or amendments, to stop or curtail pollution to our local watersheds. And a bad piece of legislation that will make waters worse. No and Bad. The bad legislation (Senate Bill 426 and House Bill 267) is what we need to sink. The companion bills are designed to remove control of our state’s 15 seaports from local municipalities, which have been perfectly fine managing their ports for 200 years, and create a blanket, one-size-fits-all [...]

2021-03-25T11:52:25-04:00March 25th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Florida Sportsman Guest Post: The Swamp and Unfishable Waters

The following article first appeared in the March edition of Florida Sportsman Magazine. It is reprinted with permission here. In 1763 the Dismal Swamp Company was founded to drain, tame and make profitable the low-lying swamp-land in and around Washington D.C. One of the shareholders was none other than George Washington, our nation’s first president. Reading this I realized that the “over-drainage” of our wetlands is anything but new, chugging into existence nearly 260 years ago and our swamps haven’t been safe since. In an ironic twist, the metaphor of draining the swamp has been viewed as a rallying cry when it pertained to ridding corruption or government waste. But, as we see now, the actual draining of the swamp [...]

2021-03-25T11:40:35-04:00March 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|

TAKE ACTION: Demand Zero Discharges to the St. Lucie

It’s possible to eliminate toxic discharges to the St. Lucie River entirely. The Army Corps of Engineers’ own modeling has demonstrated so. That’s big news for the estuary that suffers harm from any level of lake releases — and we need your help to make it a reality. Lake Okeechobee discharges have wreaked havoc on downstream ecosystems, crushed local businesses and statewide tourism, and sparked national conversation about the devastating human health consequences associated with harmful algal bloom exposure. We shouldn't settle for anything less than a new Lake Okeechobee management plan that eliminates toxic discharges to the northern estuaries. The Army Corps is giving us another chance to fight for that. What about the Caloosahatchee? A management plan that [...]

2021-02-19T10:02:48-05:00February 19th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Paging Florida’s Green Governor

Halfway through the first term of Gov. Ron DeSantis, it’s time to take an honest look at progress from the self-proclaimed “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” We’ve seen a lot of fanfare celebrating the 2-year anniversary of DeSantis’ executive order calling for the advancement of water quality and Everglades restoration. But how much better off are we? Hailed by some as a massive accomplishment, the 2020 passage of a bill supported by DeSantis called the “Clean Waterways Act” failed to enforce real and lasting change based on the specific, science-based recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The trouble is, it doesn't hold Florida’s greatest polluters to clearly enforceable pollution standards. It’s no secret that agricultural pollution is the largest contributor of [...]

2021-01-25T16:08:19-05:00January 28th, 2021|Uncategorized|

SFWMD Should Reject Projects that Benefit Big Sugar over the People of Florida

One of Governor DeSantis’ first acts was to replace Board members of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) who were closely aligned with the sugar industry. After dismal years of Rick Scott’s regime, Floridians breathed a sigh of relief, hoping the new Board would turn away from massive, taxpayer boondoggles and infrastructure projects in the name of the Everglades and our estuaries that benefit, first and foremost, Big Sugar. Unfortunately, Big Sugar continues to control the narrative, like a virulent pandemic, as evidenced by persistent harmful algae blooms, public health alerts and death of fish and wildlife along our beaches. The truth today is as bright and clear as it was 30 years ago: The only way to restore [...]

2020-12-21T09:39:30-05:00December 19th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Celebrate #GivingTuesday with!

Don’t miss the global giving movement fueling clean-water advocacy TODAY ONLY! Giving Tuesday is an opportunity for people around the world to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and support their communities. It’s a day when everyone comes together to give back in unison for the causes they care about. We are asking you to help us leverage the energy of Giving Tuesday and providing an opportunity for you to support what you stand for. Every year, engages lifelong advocates on Giving Tuesday. That’s way more powerful than just collecting donors. In this time of uncertainty, one thing that gives us hope is that this crisis is catalyzing generosity like we’ve never seen before. Now that we're beyond the [...]

2020-12-01T09:19:32-05:00December 1st, 2020|Uncategorized|