For years, our Treasure Coast community has had to deal with toxic discharges coming from Lake Okeechobee into our estuaries and coastal waters. We have been sounding this alarm for years - these toxic algal blooms would have a major impact on public health.
Just recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a new report on the consequences of these harmful algal blooms, and confirmed that toxic cyanobacteria has negative consequences for people and animals.
In fact, they reported that 92 percent of animals that got ill from toxic algal blooms died. Out of the 368 harmful algal bloom events in 2021 (which did not include any from Florida, where outbreaks are among the worst in the country) there were 2,715 animal illnesses and 117 human illnesses. Almost half of the people who reported illness were children, and a single harmful algae bloom had killed at least 2,000 bats in 2021. Without counting our state, it’s almost a guarantee that these numbers are underestimating the problem.
They also reported that almost all of the harmful algal bloom events were in fresh water - like in Lake Okeechobee - and that the bloom peaks in August.
With August just a few weeks away, I will continue to make sure that the Army Corps knows our community cannot have this toxic algal flowing through our community. The only acceptable number of discharges for the Treasure Coast is zero.
To read more about the CDC’s report, click here.