CWC Third Quarterly Meeting
Clean Water Coalition of Indian River County presents “Water Quality, Harmful Algal Blooms and Human Health Threats" by James Sullivan, PhD Executive Director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution Member of Governor DeSantis’ Blue/Green Algae Task Force
August 15th, 7pm
The Emerson Center 1590 27th Avenue Vero Beach, FL
We would like to thank the Emerson Center for generously opening the doors of their facility to us. Access is easy, but parking can be limited, so consider arriving early.
The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and its associated waters constitute a complex and important ecosystem. The IRL is one of the nation’s most biologically diverse, and is a major spawning and nursery ground for numerous species of fish and shellfish, and home to populations of dolphins and endangered Florida manatees. The region has large tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, boating, and aquaculture interests with an annual economic value estimated at nearly $8B. Unfortunately, degraded water quality and recurrent large scale harmful algal bloom (HAB) events have seriously threatened both the ecological and economic stability/value of the IRL. While HABs have been recorded in the IRL for more than 50 years, increasing stress on the system from factors including nutrient inputs/eutrophication, changing land use practices, development and issues related to climate change, have many wondering if the IRL ecosystem (and many other South Florida waters) have hit a critical tipping point where the frequency and intensity of HABs will only increase in the future. In order to better understand and manage the significant challenges of degrading water quality, HABs and threats to public health in South Florida, we need to both understand the environmental drivers of past and present HABs, while also leveraging new scientific techniques and approaches to our analyses. This talk will provide an introduction into the ecology of HABs in South Florida and the IRL, their complexities and the possible repercussions to our ecosystems and human health.