07 • 15 • 2021

Harmful Algal Blooms Kill, Florida!

Harmful Algal Blooms are impacting all our waterbodies in Florida. While our state deals with major impacts to tourism, recreation, and wildlife,the Blue Green Algae Task Force Recommendations have not been adopted by the state legislature.

Unfortunately, the 2022 Legislature failed to pass bills based on the Blue Green Algae Task Force. Florida’s coasts, springs, and lakes are grappling with the impacts of harmful algal blooms from nutrient run off, failing infrastructure and rising temperatures. The state has been suffering with long red tides and massive blue-green algae blooms.

Dead fish, sea turtles and manatees are littering Florida’s beaches, businesses that rely on tourism and recreation are struggling to survive, and beach-goers are dealing with serious impacts to their health and quality of life. In 2021, Florida had the largest UME with over 1,100 dead manatees who starved from poor water quality and dying seagrass.

In January of 2019, by Executive Order 19-12, the Florida Governor put forth the Blue Green Algae(BGA) Task Force to comply with Senate Bill 712 the Clean Waterways Act. It's been 3 years and the recommendations have been watered down, but filed in the 2022 Florida Legislature in House Bill 561 and Senate Bill 832

Some of these Recommendations will make necessary changes to lower the frequency of harmful algal blooms. We further recommend that proper signage be placed at sites of frequent and known blooms as well as at sites of active blooms to protect the public.

Surfrider Foundation Chapter volunteers in the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) monitor water quality across the state working with the Florida DEP and DOH to protect the public by reporting water qualtiy issues and using social media alerts. Particularly hit by this UME were the Volusia, Spacecoast, and Treasure Coast chapters along the Indian River Lagoon. This National Estuary of Significance has has a complete collapse and has suffered from fish kills and mass loss of marinelife and essential seagrass. 

Surfrider continues to work as a stakeholder in BGA Task Force meetings to provide valuable feedback about the dangers to the public and wildlife. By continuing to ignore these common sense recommendations to improve water quality, the public, wildlife, businesses, and places we love to recreate are at risk. We're working hard with legislators, businesses, and stakeholders impacted by these HABs to improve water quality across Florida. 

Clean Water