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"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

7.06.2008

Suwanee River, Invasives and Water Wars

Our family tradition when traveling east and we cross the Suwannee requires each passenger in the car, related by blood or not, to sing the beginning lyrics of "Way Down Upon the Suwannee River" (while still the official state song, it was replaced this year by a more appropriate Official State Anthem, "Florida: Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky"). Traveling south requires a stop on US 19 at the Suwannee River State Park to acknowledge the venerable river and to comment on how high/low the river is this trip.

This year, the Suwannee River Keepers and the Environmental Alliance for North Florida folks have sounded the alert about a highly acidic, invasive algae know as Lyngbya Wollei, which since early in 2000, has spread its dark tendrils from Manatee Springs State Park down to Branford near the
Ichetucknee Springs.

Evidently, the algae is, according to the Orlando Sentinel, spreading faster than "urban sprawl" and is now affecting
Wekiwa Springs State Park, near Apopka--northwest of Orlando. The algae is killing submerged aquatic vegetation of all varieties, which is vital to the health of our fresh waters. An estimated 50% of Florida's grass beds are being destroyed by this algae.

As populations continue to pressure our fresh water resources, this uncontrolled algae growth could complicate and heighten the escalating disputes over fresh water for residents and businesses in Florida.

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