Green Slime On Florida Beaches

Jordan Schwartz, owner of the Ohana Surf Shop, said he wanted to cry when he saw the green slime — a toxic algae bloom — covering his swath of Stuart Beach on Florida’s east coast.

“Animals are in distress, some are dying, the smell is horrible,” he told CNN on Friday. “You have to wear a mask in the marina and the river. It’s heartbreaking and there is no end in sight.”  

The economic impact is devastating, he said.

“This town is 100% driven by tourism but the tourism is empty,” he said. “You go to the beach and it’s the height of summer and we have empty beaches, empty restaurants, empty hotels.”

Gov. Rick Scott,declared a state of emergency midweek in Martin, St. Lucie, Lee and Palm Beach counties because of the toxic algae bloom that originated in Lake Okeechobee and spread to the beaches.

Algae-covered water at Stuart's Central Marine boat docks.

The Army Corps of Engineers released nutrient-heavy water into the St. Lucie Estuary as part of their flood control measures, Corps spokesman John Campbell told CNN. The algae outbreak eventually reached the beaches.

To make matters worse, a massive algae bloom was already covering the lake. Following the emergency declaration, the Corps announced it would cut discharges by about a third beginning Friday.

“The algae outbreaks are triggered by fertilizer sewage and manure pollution that the state has failed to properly regulate. It’s like adding miracle grow to the water and it triggers massive algae outbreaks,” Earthjustice spokeswoman Alisa Coe told CNN…

Toxic algae bloom blankets Florida beaches, prompts state of emergency

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