South Florida Algae Blooms

Farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land and work tirelessly to protect our natural resources. There are multiple factors to be considered when addressing the algae blooms in South Florida.  These factors include storm drain overflow, residential and commercial runoff, septic tank failure, warm temperatures and heavy rainfall, as well as the presence of farms.

We have created this page as a resource to provide factual information on the blue-green algae blooms that have contaminated some waterways in South Florida.

Humans and hurricanes created ‘perfect storm’ for algae blooms
Drew Wilson,  Florida Politics, September 2018
With the dueling water crises currently affecting Florida’s waterways – the blue-green algaebloom in Lake Okeechobee and the late-season red tide on the Gulf Coast – Florida Atlantic University professor Brian Lapointe said it’s time to start looking at the science and accepting that human activity caused these problems. Read more.

Nearly $2.2 Million Investment to Expand Mote Marine Laboratory Ozone Systems, Clay Testing Combating Red Tide
Disaster Press Release,  Florida Trend, September 2018
Governor Rick Scott announced that the State of Florida will direct a $2,178,000 investment to test innovative technologies to mitigate the effects of red tide utilizing specialized clay field experiments and other innovative approaches for controlling and mitigating the impacts of red tide including expansion of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Ozone Treatment System.   Read more.

Another reason Florida’s Red Tide is so bad this year: Pollution from the Mississippi River
by Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times, September 2018
The Red Tide algae bloom now tossing tons of dead fish on Pinellas County’s beaches has been fueled for months by many things — runoff from over-fertilized lawns, leaking septic tanks and sewage lines, even dust from the Sahara Desert.  Read more.

Agriculture Falsely Singled Out for Harmful Algal Bloom in South Florida
by Charles Shinn, Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Heavy rainfall and unusually warm temperatures that occurred earlier this year created optimal conditions for harmful algal blooms in South Florida, especially in the southern Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River.  Read more.

Who’s to Blame for the Treasure Coast Algae Bloom?
by Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News, October 2016
“If you live and/or have a farm, business or industry in South Florida — say anywhere from Orlando south — raise your hand. Ask any biologist who studies lakes and rivers. Anytime a human enters an ecosystem, it changes.” Read more.

South Florida’s Algae Blooms, A Long-Term Problem For Citizens, Officials
by G.B. Crawford, FloridAgriculture Magazine, Sept 2016
“This year’s Fourth of July weekend was a misery for many business owners and residents in Martin County. Blue-green algae in the area’s waterways spoiled business activity as well as patriotic celebrations.” Read more.

Florida Farmers Need Not Sink Amid Algal Bloom Stink
by Paul Rusnak,, August 2016

“Whether or not that assessment is fair, the perception exists among the general public that corporate farming is oblivious to the environment. Growers know that is not the case.” Read more.

The Paranoid Style and the Algae Problem
by Brant Schirard, St. Lucie Co. Citrus Grower, Sunshine State News, July 2016

Columbia University scholar Richard Hofstader once described a type of polarizing rhetoric that emerges from time to time in the public life of our society. He characterized the phenomenon as the “paranoid style in American politics.” Read more.

Imagine Florida without Farms
by Ardis Hammock, Moore Haven Frierson Farms, Naples Daily News, July 2016

Without farms, Floridians would lose a bounty of fresh, healthy, home-grown produce that is available year-round, thanks to our tropical climate.  Read more.

2016 Statement from President John L. Hoblick on Algae Blooms in South Florida
by John L. Hoblick, Florida Farm Bureau Federation
Farmers and ranchers make a living from the soil. Natural resource protection and farming are synonymous.  Read more.

The Trouble with the Indian River Lagoon
by G.B. Crawford, FloridAgriculture Magazine, January 2014
In an age that idolizes immediate solutions, big challenges that involve large numbers of people and money pose uncomfortable realities. The inherent difficulty of addressing such challenges often leads some critics to find scapegoats. Read more.