In the news in 2019
Blue-Green Algae Task Force Welcomed to the Kapnick in Naples FL (September 25, 2019)
EWRP Director Bill Mitsch gave a short welcome on behalf of all students, staff, faculty, visiting scholars and advisors of Everglades Wetland Research Park to the State of Florida's Blue-Green Algae Task Force that met at the Kapnick (EWRP's home on FGCU’s Naples campus) on September 24 and 25.
He described at how pleased he was to move to the Kapnick in 2012 from up north when the EWRP was born. "We hope you enjoy your stay here. When the FGCU administration offered me the Kapnick in 2012, then basically unused by the Ft. Myers campus an hour north of here during Season traffic on I-75, I thought I died and landed in wetland heaven. The Everglades to the east, mangroves on Naples and Rookery Bays to the immediate south and west.”
He also called attention to past and future planned expansion of the EWRP. "Our wetland research park now informally and formally includes Collier County’s Freedom Park wetland park just a few minutes drive from here in central Naples and possibly a new research site 200 yards north on Bayshore Drive as early as next year.
He invited participants to pick up publication reprints and join a tour the lab and offices. He also called attention to the members of the task force from University of Florida "I am also especially happy to welcome chief scientist Tom Frazer and committee member Wendy Graham to the EWRP. Gators are always welcome here!”
Wetland Scientist Questions Design of the EAA Reservoir Project (WGCU, August 26, 2019)
Press Release: Independent peer-reviewed science again calls into question the SFWMD’s EAA reservoir design (Friends of the Everglades, August 15, 2019)
Press Release: SIERRA CLUB DEMANDS FULL REVIEW OF THE EAA RESERVOIR DESIGNAlternatives for Water Storage, Treatment, and Conveyance South are Way Past Due (Sierra Club, August 15, 2019)
Belle Glade, FL—The recently released review of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir
by William J. Mitsch, Director of the Florida Gulf Coast University's Everglades Wetland
Research Park, draws attention once again to the fact that the current project design
is seriously lacking.
Statement by Sierra Club Organizing Representative Diana Umpierre:
“A full review of the EAA Storage Reservoir design is immediately required and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) must aggressively identify alternatives for water storage, treatment, and conveyance south.
Sierra Club has been challenging South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) since 2017 to make full use of the resources provided by state law to design a cost-effective reservoir project in the Everglades Agricultural Area that maximizes potential benefits and ensures the conveyance of clean water south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. The current design is a staggering betrayal of the expectations created by the legislation (SB 10) signed into law in 2017.
The South Florida Water Management District has never engaged in a concerted effort to ensure a larger project footprint to boost the project’s water treatment capacity; in fact no alternatives were ever presented that address the concerns that restricting the project’s size limits its ability to achieve optimum performance.
Dr. Mitsch’s review underlines the need to ensure that the project design is consistent with the intent and letter of the law, presents the optimal configuration to reduce discharges to Florida’s coasts and deliver clean water to the Everglades and Florida Bay, and provides these benefits cost-effectively.
SB10 required SFWMD to analyze the "optimal configuration” (subparagraph (5)(b)(1) of Florida Statute 373.4598) of the reservoir and SFWMD was not limited to acreage already in public ownership. We need land, close to 100,000 acres, to truly restore the Everglades ecosystem and protect residents from toxic harmful algae – both around Lake Okeechobee and in the northern estuaries. For two decades everything but what is actually needed has been the focus. Dr. Mitsch’s review gives the District another reason to finally make land acquisition their top priority.
It makes no sense to spend $2 billion on a reservoir with a questionable design that is highly unlikely to provide the desperately needed benefits. Too many people have rushed to promote the implementation of the current design. Claiming victory, accepting less than what we truly need, will not ensure the restoration of the Everglades. We need to continue to demand the land needed to make restoration a reality.”
Experts Say The EAA Reservoir Won't Work (Bullsugar.org, August 15, 2019)
Everglades expert: Reservoir to curb discharges won't clean water; should SFWMD redesign? (TCPalm, August 14, 2019)
EWRP scientists, visiting scholars, and students visit Grand Lake St. Marys treatment
wetlands in Ohio (The Evening Leader, August 9, 2019)
Economics might support grandiose Great Black Swamp restoration (Toledo Blade, August 4, 2019)
FGCU’s Everglades center director comments on the current reservoir plan for solving
harmful algal blooms and restoring the Florida Everglades in a peer-reviewed publication (published July 31, 2019)
William J. Mitsch, Ph.D., Eminent Scholar and Juliet C Sproul Chair for Southwest Florida Habitat Restoration at the Everglades Wetland Research Park, College of Arts & Sciences, Florida Gulf Coast University, published on July 31, 2019 a peer-reviewed revision of a review that he wrote in April 2018 of the “EAA Reservoir Plan.” The review was commissioned by The Friends of the Everglades, an NGO based in Miami, Florida. The purpose of this EAA Reservoir project plan, developed primarily by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), is to mitigate coastal pollution resulting from discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastline, and eventually to “send the water south” to the Florida Everglades instead. The project was included by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a 2018 U.S. Congressional bill that was approved. In May 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to spend $200 million to begin this project, three times the amount requested by the state of Florida. A change in leadership in the state of Florida after the November 2018 elections and especially in the leadership of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has led to renewed public optimism for major improvements in water quality management and for Everglades restoration in south Florida. It is therefore timely that this review of the advantages and shortcomings of the original “EAA (Everglades Agricultural Area) Reservoir Plan” now be widely disseminated to encourage discussions among aquatic scientists, water resource engineers, and the general public.
Researcher says Great Black Swamp experiment could help Lake Erie (Toledo Blade, July 28, 2019)
All Sides with Ann Fisher: Ohio Wetlands And Algae Blooms (WOSU, July 25, 2019)
Black Swamp Savior: How Bringing Back Conquered Wetlands Could Help Solve Harmful Algal Blooms (Environmental Monitor, July, 2019)
All Sides with Ann Fisher: Algal Blooms And Water Pollution (WOSU, July 16, 2019)
Looking at the algae crisis one year later (WINK TV, July 10, 2019)
Cape Coral FL--The news networks were going nuts last year, especially in spring and summer 2018, when we had unprecedented algal blooms in freshwater, brackish, and salt water in many locations of southwest Florida. This year, there are few signs of algae, especially blue-green algae or cyanobacteria, in Cape Coral where water in the man-made channels and ditches is often stagnant so these are the first waters to show the symptoms. What a difference a year makes. Algae blooms are known for being episodic so there are three possible explanations for the cleaner waterways in Cape Coral--1. fewer discharges from upstream by now-aware state and Federal agencies to reduce the symptoms downstream; 2. rainfall and natural runoff patterns vary from year to year; and 3. the algae bloom season is just getting started a little later this year due to slightly cooler waters. So don't let your guard down, Cape Coral.
Workshop on Wetlands Mitigating Harmful Algal Blooms in Huron, OH in August 3, 2019 (June 25, 2019)
The Everglades Wetland Research Park will host this workshop with a number of the partnerships: The Jerry B. Pausch Foundation,The Ohio State University (School of Natural Resources and The Sustanability Institute), Ohio Wetlands Association, Streams and Wetlands Foundation, European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology, University of Lodz, University of Notre Dame, Bowling Green State University,National Wildlife Federation, University of Toledo, and U.S. National Ramsar Committee) at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio in August 3, 2019.
WestFest at the Ohio State University (May 18, 2019)
At the Ohio State University WestFest event in May 18, 2019, EWRP formally announced a workshop on wetlands as solutions to harmful algal blooms on USA's northern coastline this summer August 3, 2019. Participating universities include The Ohio State University, University of South Florida, University of Notre Dame, University of Lodz (Poland) and Florida Gulf Coast University .
Trump says he'll push for $200 million for Everglades work (NBC-2, May 14, 2019)
Bill Mitsch, Director of EWRP, was interviewed by NBC TV-2 in Ft. Myers on May 14, 2019. Bill told NBC that $200 million for Everglades would be important for SW FL because reclaiming the Everglades is gigantically connected to fixing our algal blooms—blue green and red tide. They are interlinked. He also told NBC he reviewed the EAA reservoir "restoration" plan in detail last year and his review was sent to the Corps of Engineers. So hopefully there be improvements to make sure we “send clean water south” to the Everglades instead of high fertilizer waters. We must be sure the water is super clean by restoring thousands of acres of treatment wetlands upstream of the Everglades.
Could nutrients from Florida's farms be recycled? (May 9, 2019)
Two FGCU students majoring in journalism, Eugene Kinchen and Sarajane Sullivanl, produced and published a product “Could nutrients from Florida’s farms be recycled?” for Changing Florida.org, a spring semester capstone project under the direction of Prof. Lyn Millner, Associate Professor of Journalism at FGCU. They interviewed Prof. Bill Mitsch, who was on sabbatical at Lodz University in Lodz Poland, by Skype on March 25, 2019 for this wetlaculture story. The also visited the EWRP labs and the wetlaculture mesocosm experimental mesocosms at Freedom Park in Naples while researching their study.
New Project to Clean Up Okeechobee Waters (WGCU, May 1, 2019)
EWRP Director and Professor Bill Mitsch participated in this one-hour discussion at PBS WGCU in Ft. Myers FL about the wicked algal blooms we had last summer in SW Florida including their potential health implications and how we can once and for all fix the Everglades and this water quality mess accelerated by Agriculture. A lot of disappointment was expressed by all three panelists about how ag got off the hook again in Florida legislation for 2019. We should expect more algal blooms in 2019 beginning soon through September in SW Florida.
Natural cure to water quality crisis comes with uphill battle (WINK TV, March 28, 2019)
World Water Day conference in Warsaw, Poland (Friday, March 22, 2019)
London, England—On Wednesday, March 13, Professor William J. Mitsch, Ph.D. from the USA, the 2004 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate and current Fulbright Scholar at Bangor University in Wales, U.K., will be presenting a public lecture at University College London. It is really a story about how humans have combined landscape change with climate change to create hundreds of ecological calamities around the world of our freshwater and coastal waters. Harmful algal blooms are now more common and more excessive because of excessive fertilization for decades from urban and agricultural pollution but are equally accelerated by warmer water temperatures from a warmer planet. At the same time, we are draining our landscapes of the very ecosystems—wetlands— that could help us out with nutrient retention to solve these landscape changes and carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change.
32nd NRN LCEE Public lecture William J Mitsch 'The Role of Wetland Processes in the Global Carbon (YouTube by National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy & Environment, UK, February 21, 2019)
Mitsch gives climate change lecture at Bangor University, Wales, UK, 19 February 2019 — Bill Mitsch, Director of the Everglades Wetland Research Park presented the 32nd and final lecture in a multi-year series of lectures on low carbon, energy, and environment held at Bangor University. A full-house of 80 attendees increased the total attendance in the series to almost 1500 attendees. The title of Professor Mitsch’s talk was “The role of wetland processes in the global carbon cycle and climate change.”
Editorial: Beach Club redevelopment, FGCU wetlands research park top busy week ahead (Naples Daily News, February 11, 2019)
Brent Batten: FGCU proposes water quality research park along Bayshore Drive in East Naples (Naples Daily News, February 9, 2019)
FGCU professor proposes new wetlands research facility in Naples (NBC-2, February 8, 2019)
Scientists struggle to find red tide's Achilles heel (Charlotte Sun, February 6, 2019)
Happy World Wetlands Day to Everyone! Beachtalkradio interviewed Bill at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida (Beachtalkradio, February 2, 2019)
SFWMD says sugar farming no longer a threat, advocates disagree (WINK TV, February 2, 2019)
FGCU study asks, do car emissions contribute to red tide?(1075Jamz.fm, Fort Myers Beach, January 28, 2019)
Nearly a third of state’s waters polluted, experts say (Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, January 24, 2019)
Red tide fed by runoff into river, FGCU researcher reveals (Lake Okeechobee News, January 20, 2019)
‘Red menace’: Research looks at causes and possible mitigation for red tide outbreaks (Naples Daily News, January 19, 2019)
Bill Mitsch on Red Tide (theparadiseprogressive.home.blog, January 17, 2019)
FGCU researcher says converting farms to swamps would help water issues (ABC-7, January 16, 2019)
FGCU researcher: To clean water, convert some farm fields to wetlands in Everglades (Naples Daily News, January 16, 2019)
Red Tide: Scientist Dr. Bill Mitsch gives a speech calling calls fertilizer the opiate of agriculture (Local Sarasota County News, January 12, 2019)
Scientist says new type of farming would not need fertilizer (Charlotte Sun, January 12, 2019)
Florida gets ‘D’ in protecting beaches from coastal erosion, climate change (WINK TV, January 12, 2019)
FGCU study asks, do car emissions contribute to red tide? (WINK TV, January 11, 2019)
FGCU researcher reveals the cause of red tide during lecture series speech (WGCU Radio, January 11, 2019)
Researcher says test results identify red tide cause (90.7 WMFE-Orlando, January 11, 2019)
Eminent Professor Dr. Bill Mitsch explains harmful algal blooms in FGCU lecture series (WGCU, January 9, 2019)
FGCU researcher wants to clean water by flipping lands between wetlands and farm fields in Everglades (Naples Daily News, January 7, 2019)