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heron stepping into it
Florida Algae Green Slime Busters
Nitrogen is the worst pollutant in the world affecting the oceans because it causes harmful algal blooms.
heron stepping into it

Terrible Algal Bloom Smothers Southern Florida

Wildlife is dying; swimmers and waders are told not to enter the water.  It is so bad, that the governor has declared an emergency for Palm Beach County, Martin County and St. Lucie County.
croc in algae
Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger
The Ocean River Institute acted with more than 3,000 eAlert subscribers, who responded with hundreds of poignant personal comments.  We called on Palm Beach County and Town of Jupiter Island not to fertilize established lawns during the summer months, like right now!  These are last two governments in Indian River Lagoon on Treasure Coast that continue to fertilize lawns during the summer months.
 pelicans dive toxic algae
Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger
Jupiter Island Town Manager said a new fertilizer ordinance will be discussed at the July 19 meeting.  Palm Beach County has yet to respond our call for responsible action. ORI partner, Captain Nan Beaver has called on Martin County Commissioners to request that the Governor declare no summer fertilizing for the state of Florida.
 blue heron overlooking slimy water
Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger
Join with us in addressing this catastrophe. The slime clogging Florida waterways and the stinking, oozing, green algae that is coating the shores is actually bacteria with the deceitful name of blue-green algae.  It can cause liver and kidney damage in humans if ingested and painful rashes if contacted. In addition to the algae’s toxicity, fish and other wildlife are dying due to a depletion of oxygen in the water from rotting algae.
 manatee eating leaf
Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger

Florida harmful algal blooms must be stopped.  Now would be a good time to support us with donations and to help spread the word.  The need has never been greater.   Join in our Save Our River national campaign by becoming a fundraiser and set up your own page to share with friends.  Together let’s get the muck out of our waterways!

armored catfish
Photo by Rebecca Fatzinger

In 2011, Captain Nan Beaver, Jim Moir and Rob Moir met with Martin County Commissioner Patrick Hayes.  By unanimous vote the Martin County Commissioners passed a responsible lawn care ordinance consisting of three steps, 1. respect setback from waterways; 2. use at least 50% slow release nitrogen, and 3. do  not fertilize established lawns June 1 to September 30th.

The fertilizer industry was not pleased.. Many groups and individuals across the region organized to bring about further responsible lawn care ordinances.  By July 2014, St Lucie, Indian River, Brevard, and Volusia County modified their practices for the better.

2013 was the worst die-off of dolphins ever!  79 dolphins were found dead in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Three times the average number of dead dolphins found in recent years. The algal blooms also contributed to the deaths of over 100 manatees and hundreds of pelicans.

Indian River Lagoon is under assault from nitrogen-fed algal blooms. Algae blooms are also causing fish kills, extensive seagrass die-off, and have made waters toxic for swimmers. To stop dolphin deaths and to clean the waters, we must lessen the nitrogen entering the Lagoon.

Nitrogen is the worst pollutant on the world affecting oceans. It causes harmful algal blooms, which deplete the dissolved oxygen, causing marine wildlife to suffer and become more vulnerable to toxins and disease. It reduces biodiversity in shallow estuarine waters and degrades ecosystems. Nitrogen in the blooms also produces nitrous oxide (N20), a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.  This contributes to global warming, which further degrades oceans by increasing acidity in the water as the oceans absorb more and more carbon.

How can you help get rid of green algal slime choking our shores and smearing our beaches?

The Ocean River Institute is educating and mobilizing people across the country for responsible land practices in stewardship of the ocean. We’re partnering with local groups in Florida on the Indian River Lagoon. We are work with municipal decision makers to pass lawn-fertilizing ordinances that will stop nitrogen pollution, especially when waters are warming and algae is hungriest for nutrients in order to bloom. Reducing nitrogen runoff during the summer will go far to restore beaches and the ocean.

You can help by signing ORI’s petition to reduce nitrogen pollution from lawn fertilizers.

Two Victories for Dolphins and the Indian River Lagoon

After a year of unprecedented dolphin and manatee deaths in 2013, St. Lucie County, Brevard County and, in July 2014, Volusia County passed strong responsible fertilizer ordinances.

We delivered 7,586 letters on February 10.  Days later, the Brevard County Commission vote was unanimous 5 – 0.  St Lucie enacted essentially the same ordinance “to address the water quality issues and environmental degradation of the Indian River Lagoon, which is vital to the economy of our County, the region and our quality of life.”

 

Where We're Working On This
Florida Algae Green Slime Busters. See where we're actively working on this.

How You Can Help
The Ocean River Institute provides individuals around the world with specific opportunities to make a difference saving wildlife, protecting ecosystems, in environmental education, science, and conservation.