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House Speaker says water bills closer, advisory council could be sticking point

By Bruce Ritchie

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Wednesday that the Senate is getting closer to the House on a comprehensive water bill but some differences remain.

SB 918 was rewritten in a committee on Wednesday in response to requests by business groups and environmentalists, both of whom had raised concerns. Both sides still have issues, with environmentalists still more critical of the Senate and House bills than business groups.

The Senate bill would establish springs protection zones, provide consistency in pollution regulations dealing with Lake Okechobee and incorporate Central Florida water supply planning in state law.

Continued on StPetersblog.com »


Lake Cleanup Saturday, April 11, at the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes

The Kissimmee River Valley Sportsmens Association will be combing the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes Saturday for trash during an annual cleanup.

They will be based at Coleman Land at Shady Oaks on Lake Kissimmee this year.

There will be a general countywide cleanup this summer during Lakes Appreciation Month in July, which is coordinated by the Lakes Education/Action Drive.

Any effort to keep trash out of our waterways or to remove it once it gets there is commendable.

Source: The Ledger


Multiple satellite eyes to track algal threat to U.S. freshwater

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Four federal agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey have joined forces in an effort to transform satellite data into vital information to protect the American public from freshwater contaminated by harmful algal blooms.

The $3.6 million research project is a collaborative effort among NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USGS. Using methods and technology established to analyze ocean color satellite data, scientists from the four agencies will work to develop an early warning indicator for toxic and nuisance algal blooms in freshwater systems and build an information distribution system to expedite public health advisories.

Algal blooms are a worldwide environmental problem causing human and animal health risks, fish kills, and noxious taste and odor in drinking water. In the United States, the cost of freshwater degraded by harmful algal blooms is estimated at $64 million annually. In August 2014, officials in Toledo, Ohio, banned the use of drinking water supplied to more than 400,000 residents after it was contaminated by an algal bloom in Lake Erie.

“Harmful algal blooms have emerged as a significant public health and economic issue that requires extensive scientific investigation,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS Director. “USGS uses converging lines of evidence from ground to space to assess changes in water quantity and quality, ecosystems, natural hazards, and environmental health issues important to the nation.”

Ocean color satellite data are currently available to scientists, but are not routinely processed and produced in formats that help state and local environmental and water quality managers. Through this project, satellite data on harmful algal blooms developed by the partner agencies will be converted to a format that stakeholders can use through mobile devices and web portals.

US Geological Survey news release continues...


Save the date: National Monitoring Conference, May 2-6, 2016

Save the date! Join us in beautiful and vibrant Tampa, Florida for the 10th National Monitoring Conference - Working Together for Clean Water - on May 2 - 6, 2016.

Sponsored by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC), this national forum is for all water stakeholders, including federal, state, tribal and local water professionals, non-profits, academia, volunteer citizen scientists, and industry. Come to exchange information, network, develop partnerships and new skills, and see the latest technology related to the water resources we know and love -- rivers and streams; lakes; wetlands; coastal waters and estuaries; and groundwater. Conference themes attract papers and posters on topics that range from monitoring and assessment, to protection and restoration, to cutting-edge technologies and methods. Volunteer monitoring programs have always been well represented at this large national conference.

Please feel free to distribute this announcement to your friends and colleagues. Look for our Call for Abstracts later this spring.

For additional information about the NWQMC and updates on the conference, please visit: http://acwi.gov/monitoring/. We look forward to an exciting and informative conference!

Contact Information
Alice Mayio, USEPA Office of Water, Mayio.Alice@epamail.epa.gov
phone: 202-566-1184.

From coastlines to the Everglades, researchers tackle sea level rise

Under the streets of Miami Beach, seeping up through the limestone, water creeps into storm drains and pours into the streets. It happens once a year when the sun and moon align in such a way that gravity pulls at Earth's water. The phenomenon is known as King Tide. It is the highest of high tides, and every year, it puts Miami Beach at risk of major flooding.

FIU researchers were on-site during the latest King Tide event to collect and assess data. The efforts are part of a university-wide initiative to study, better understand and develop solutions for sea level rise. Plans are under way to create an institute dedicated to the interdisciplinary work being done at FIU, which includes collaboration among researchers from Arts & Sciences, Architecture and the Arts, Business, Law, Public Health and Social Work, Engineering, Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as Journalism and Mass Communication.

South Florida ranks as the world's most vulnerable urban region in terms of assets exposed to the effects of sea level rise. FIU's research is dedicated to developing and implementing solutions for the major environmental and economic challenges created by the rising seas.

Continue reading on Phys.org »


‘Low risk’ contamination sites to get fresh scrutiny under DEP plan

By William R. Levesque

TAMPA – For years in Tallahassee, the list of contaminated sites that are believed to pose a "low risk" to drinking water have numbered about 5,000. But no one is quite sure they are just low risk.

Now the state Department of Environmental Protection is adopting a new strategy aimed at completing a full assessment of each site in smaller counties over the next three to five years by hiring larger counties – including Hillsborough and Pinellas – to check them out.

Hillsborough will administer site assessment and cleanup in Manatee. Pinellas will do the same in Pasco and is expected also to undertake Hernando, Citrus, and Sumter counties.

Such properties, which made it on the list using mapping data and landowners' self-reporting, can contain surprises, said Hooshang Boostani, director of Hillsborough waste management.

Continued in the Tampa Bay Times »


CHNEP Subcommittee to Review Water Atlas Water Quality & Water Clarity Tools

Dear CHNEP TAC Members & Scientific Community,

There will be a CHNEP Subcommittee meeting to review the CHNEP Water Atlas Enhancements Project draft deliverables, including the Water Quality Variables Time Series Analysis (Task 2) & Water Clarity Reporting Tool (Task 3) on Monday March 30, 2015 in Punta Gorda from 9:00 am – 11:00 pm at Laishley Park. The meeting agenda is attached.

The review opportunity is provided before the final draft deliverables are presented to the TAC April 9 for consideration for approval by the Management Conference.

The meeting will be available remotely through Go-To-Meeting, but the details are currently being set up USF & as soon as we have the call-information, I will forward it to you via separate email.

We are looking forward to seeing these very useful tools & appreciate your participation in reviewing them.

We hope to see you March 30 in Punta Gorda.


Judy Ott
Program Scientist, M.S., Licensed Captain
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program

Water Atlas Enhance Review Agenda 2015

Contact Information
Judy Ott, Program Scientist, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, jott@chnep.org, Punta Gorda, FL. 33950
phone: (941) 575-3385.
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