Letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried: Stop the Burn

Almost half a million acres of sugarcane are burned for harvest every year in the fields around the Glades. Thick smoke looms, and ash rains down on houses, cars, and schools in communities south of Florida's Lake Okeechobee most months of the year. Insufficient protections for surrounding communities imposes air pollution, health risks, and economic stress on vulnerable residents — threats that are underscored by the current pandemic. Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to express our support for the expansion of real protections for communities most impacted by the pre-harvest practice of sugarcane burning, until such a time that pre-harvest burning is banned entirely.  Click here to view the letter in full.

Friends of the Everglades Supports Legislation Prohibiting Toxic Discharges

Today, Friends of the Everglades stood with Congressman Brian Mast in front of the St. Lucie River in support of his newly-introduced legislation. The bill aims to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon when microcystin exceeds the EPA recreational limit of 8 parts per billion. An advanced copy of the bill can be viewed here. With each passing year, we have accumulated more scientific evidence confirming the serious health threats posed by toxic algae blooms. Yet it’s still legally permissible to flood our communities with this toxic water. That's inexcusable. Congressman Mast’s legislation aims to stop that. These are not partisan issues. They are commonsense public-health protections. We support Congressman [...]

ACTION ALERT: Send a letter to the Army Corps to support protecting communities from toxic algae

We need your help. The Army Corps of Engineers has formally recognized the serious public health threat posed by harmful algal blooms. As such, it is imperative that they move forward with a proposed deviation from the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS 2008) that would allow for common-sense adjustments to the current lake management plan to avoid sending toxic algae to communities. The Corps is gathering comments from the public to help them finalize the proposed changes to current lake management. Your input can help shape the way the federal government manages South Florida’s waterways. If you’ve seen the impacts of toxic blooms, discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee, or the collapse of Florida Bay and the health of [...]

2020 LORS HAB Deviation Environmental Assessment Comments

Friends of the Everglades submitted the following comments to the Army Corps of Engineers to express our support for a proposed deviation from LORS 2008, allowing for common sense adjustments to the current Lake Okeechobee management plan in recognition of the serious public health threat posed by harmful algal blooms.  

Recording Available Now! Clean Water Conversations: Harmful Algal Bloom Expert Q&A

    Thanks to all of you for joining us for another successful Clean Water Conversation. Today our guests, Dr. Walter Bradley and Dr. James Metcalf, covered the frightening topic of human health impacts related to toxic algae exposure. Many of you offered up your questions and concerns for discussion, highlighting very real fears that Floridians face due to toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges. The takeaway was direct and disturbing: these toxins present clear short and long-term risks to humans, to our pets, to animals that share these environments with us, and to crops that are irrigated with polluted water. We’re grateful to Doctors Bradley and Metcalf for their truly remarkable work, dedicated to understanding the dangers of HABs. They are [...]

Upcoming Clean Water Conversations: Harmful Algal Bloom Expert Q&A

For more than 70 years, the Army Corps has managed Lake Okeechobee without consideration for the health of those impacted in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee watersheds and further south in Florida Bay. As a result, Floridians and their pets have been exposed to an array of serious near-term health threats. Additionally, researchers have linked toxins in discharged lakewater to increased long-term risks of liver failure, ALS, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease. In our upcoming Clean Water Conversation, we’re offering the public a chance to converse candidly with harmful algal bloom (HAB) experts Dr. Walter Bradley and Dr. James Metcalf. We know Floridians have many concerns about Lake Okeechobee releases exposing people to dangerously high levels of toxins. Now is [...]

Letter of Support To Prohibit Toxic Discharges

Friends of the Everglades submitted the following letter to Congress to express our support for a provision in the Water Resources Development Act that would prohibit the Army Corps of Engineers from discharging Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie Estuary when levels of microcystin exceed 8 micrograms per liter.  

Congress must reject 20-year-old water promises to protect future of Lake Okeechobee, estuaries & Everglades

The following letter was sent by Friends of the Everglades to all Florida congressional offices requesting their rejection of the intentionally manipulative language additions that would ultimately prioritize the water supply needs for large industrial farms south of Lake Okeechobee over the health of residents living along toxic-algae plagued waterways. April 29, 2020 To the members of Florida's congressional delegation: On behalf of Friends of the Everglades, I’m writing to voice our concerns about an effort to manipulate this year’s Water Resources & Development Act (WRDA) in a manner that would be detrimental to the Everglades, the northern estuaries and Florida Bay. In an email sent Tuesday, April 28, Rep. Alcee Hastings’ staff requested other representatives sign onto a letter [...]