SAVE THE DATE! Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here



Everyone acknowledges that the interaction between water quality and coral reefs, seagrasses, and marine creatures in the Florida Keys is a complicated issue. Climate-change, land-based sources of pollution, habitat loss and destruction, and overfishing all contribute to the health of local waters.

Recognizing the importance of water quality, Last Stand and Everglades Law Center are scheduling free forums in April, bringing together a panel of water quality, hydrology, and coral reef experts to examine the science behind what is occurring and what is being planned to improve water quality in the Keys.

The Upper Keys forum, on Wednesday, April 16 in Key Largo, features the director of South Florida Natural Resources Center for Everglades National Park, Bob Johnson, and the director of science and policy for the Everglades Foundation, Tom Van Lent, Ph.D.

Also on the program are Andrew Baker, Ph.D., associate professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, Jerry Lorenz, director of research for Audubon Florida, and Billy Causey, Ph.D., Southeast Regional Director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

“We know how critically important water quality is to the Keys,” said Last Stand president Naja Girard. “That’s why we’re having two sessions. The people we’ve invited to speak are all renowned experts on the issue of Everglades’ water flow and near- and off-shore water quality.”

The April 16 forum will be held at the Key Largo Public Library, 101485 Overseas Hwy. in Key Largo, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The informational session is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

A second session takes place in Key West on Tuesday, April 22, also from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Eco-Discovery Center. 

For more information, contact Julie Dick at 312-399-4057.

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  3 Responses to “SAVE THE DATE! Keys Water Quality: The Buck Stops Here”

  1. I don’t see Brian La Pointe Phd’s name among the speakers/experts. He seems to me to have the best handle on the biggest pollution threat to marine life in the Bay of Florida, the Keys and the Reef – chemical runoff from south Florida. When I brought that up at a Marine Sanctuary Steering Committee meeting at the Marathon Government Center maybe two months ago, I got looks back like I was nuts and Brian La Pointe, too. If you watched Brian’s presentation, him talking and slide photos, at a Key West City Commission meeting about a month ago, at the invitation of City Commissioner Jimmy Weekly, you’d have seen his position is compelling. You’d also have seen little apparent interest in his presentation from the rest of the city commissioners and the mayor, and from the city staff and the citizen audience. I see much the same lack of interest in Brian’s work and perspective from the County Commission, and it has not seemed to me that Last Stand seems interested either. Nor does it seem that Last Stand seems interested in the dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships calling on Key West, which dump their wastewater and ground up food scraps in the ocean. The Marine Sanctuary Steering Committee did not seem interested in hearing about that, either, when spoke to them during citizen comments. Nor has the Key West City Commission seemed interested. I told the City Commission and the Marine Sanctuary Steering Committee that it appears Tallahassee is yielding to complaints from the east and west Florida coasts to reroute chemical runoff out of the east-west canal fed by Lake Okeechobee, where the chemical runoff is sent, back from the lake into the Everglades, through which the chemical runoff will migrate into the Bay of Florida, and then drift down to the lower Keys and the reef, which is about 90-95 percent dead, due to the chemical runoff, Brian La Pointe says. The new chemical runoff through the Everglades also will threaten the undersea coral farms, according to Brian, which are trying to regrow the reef. Farms partially funded by the City of Key West and Monroe County, by other government agencies, and from other sources. Brian La Pointe needs to be center stage in this upcoming forum.

    • Sloan, Last Stand is awaiting a response from FKNMS regarding a request to increase the restrictions on cruise ship effluent to the VERY STRICT levels currently being enjoyed in other marine sanctuaries. We began researching this effort during the channel widening debate and a formal request was sent out via our attorneys at Everglades Law Center several months ago. We await a response. Mr. Lapointe has made his views known both in the media and before the entire community via a City Commission meeting. Last Stand is listening. Last Stand is now sponsoring a free informational forum consisting of many additional experts on the subject of what is affecting our water quality and corals with a goal of learning even more about the issue. There will be a question and answer period after presentations by the speakers. The Key West forum will be on April 22nd at Eco Discovery.

      • Brian was not invited, therefore, to this forum? If not, that bothers me. Everglades Law Center don’t seem to be in a hurry. And, it does not pass and enforce environmental protection laws/regulations, although it can sue to have same enforced. The dirtiest, worst possible cruise ships have been calling on Key West for a very long time, like, since the first cruise ship called on Key West, and the city, it’s elected officials, its citizens, Chamber of Commerce, Reef Relief, and Last Stand went along with it. I know the current laws are weak, and there is little interest at the state and federal level – cruise ships are a money maker for Florida. That’s why I keep saying Key West itself needs to do all it can to make these nasty floating hotels, which dump their wastes into the sea, re Arnaud’s explicit editorial cartoon to that effect during the run up to the “channel-widening” study referendum, from calling on Key West. Don’t provide conch train services from the outer mole. Don’t provide police and fire services to cruise ships. Don’t provide help at the city pier. Don’t sell them Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority water piped down from the mainland, of all places! Don’t provide them any Key West City employee services. Tell them there are not welcome here, take their garbage barges somewhere else. On my end, it does not appear that blue paper readers can read what I posted below the workshop promo, nor your response, nor my reply to yours. Love and kisses.

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