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Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Red tide, algae blooms: Reducing nutrients is best way to prevent pollution, say DEP, FWC

Limiting nutrient pollution into waterways is the best way to prevent toxic red tide and blue-green algae blooms, two state agencies told Florida lawmakers Wednesday. However, they didn't address the primary sources or suggest specific solutions, only said they're working on the issue with other state and federal agencies.

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Some scientists, politicians and environmentalists blame Lake Okeechobee discharges and the agricultural industry, specifically sugar. Others blame coastal development, lawn fertilizer and leaky septic tanks.

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Reducing nitrogen and phosphorus "will decrease the frequency of the blooms, the magnitude and the duration of those blooms, and will help with that," Tom Frick, of the Department of Environmental Protection, told the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

DEP is studying the blooms' cause, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and researching "technologies and solutions," along with the state Department of Health, South Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Frick said.

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