word to the wise, Big Sugar, et. al., it’s not smart to mess with Mother Nature

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Billy CauseyCausey
 
Billy Causey, Regional Director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, replied to the 2014 Last Stand and Everglades Law Center water quality symposium in Key West report post (click on that link to see it) at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com. If you did not yet read that post, it provides the back story for and probably is essential to what follows:
 
 
Sloan … my first attempt was sent to your previous email address.  Billy
On Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Billy Causey – NOAA Federal <billy.causey@noaa.gov> wrote:

Dear Mr. Bashinsky,
Following our discussion at the conclusion of the water quality and South Florida Ecosystem Restoration forum at the Florida Keys EcoDiscovery Center, Tuesday night and my review of your column in GoodMorningFloridaKeys.com the next morning, I wanted to send you the attached annual  water quality report.   The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program is managed by EPA, NOAA and the State of Florida, with local governments, various stakeholders and others that serve on a Water Quality Steering Committee.  The committee meets twice a year.
 
The Florida International University has been contracted by EPA, the State and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor the water quality and the seagrasses of the Sanctuary.  In past years, the South Florida Water Management District and the National Park Service has also contracted for water quality monitoring with the same FIU scientists.
 
The water quality information that I presented on April 16 and 22nd came from the 16 year old FIU monitoring program and the various reports of the data they have collected over the years.
 
The latest report is attached for your review.  All of the reports can be found at their website, which is: http://ocean.floridamarine.org/FKNMS_WQPP/pages/wqmp.html .
I would like to encourage you to review the reports and the FIU website.
 
Finally, I have a book that was edited by Dr. Bill Kruczynski, EPA retired, who attended and was introduced at the forum Tuesday night.  I would like to give you a copy of his book titled:Tropical Connections.  The book has nearly 200 peer-reviewed papers written by over 160 authors.  Bill managed the FKNMS WQPP for EPA, the State and NOAA for over 15 years and is very knowledgeable about water quality issues in the Florida Keys.
 
If you will give me your mailing address, I will send you a copy of Tropical Connections.
Sincerely, Billy Causey
 
 
Billy D. Causey, Ph.D.
Regional Director
Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
33 East Quay Road
Key West, Florida 33040
 
Office:  305 809 4670 (ex 234)
Mobile: 305 395 0150
Fax:     305 293 5011
 
Will Our Grandchildren Remember Us For What We Conserved and Protected or For What We Let Slip Away?
 
 
 
I replied:
 
Hi, Billy -

 
Thanks, my snail mail address is 1711 Seminary Street, Key West, FL 33040. According to this email account’s log, keysmyhome@hotmail.com has been my email address since August 2006. According to sloanbashinsky@hotmail.com’s log, it has been my email address since March 2004. I had another email account before that, which was discontinued.
 
I will add your email and this my reply to my post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, and will tell my readers about that.
 
In a nap dream today, I was beating hell for leather on a horse up to the country. I crawled out of bed, looked in my email account and found your email. Up to the country down here for me is Big Pine Key and thereabouts, which is where you live. I lived the next island down, Little Torch, until last August, when I sold my place there and moved back down to Key West.
 
Joel Biddle introduced me to Brian LaPointe.
Brian La PointeLaPointe
Joel had worked some years at Reef Relief. He said Brian LaPointe was the best person (the only person, actually) for me to talk to about what killed our reef. 
 
Pursuant to Joel’s introduction, about a year ago Brian and I met in Coco’s Kitchen, on Big Pine. Brian told me that most people do not agree with him. Then, he gave me a crash course in his view of the Everglades, what killed our reef, the dying manatee on the east and west coasts.  
 
Reef Relief started and was and still is based in Key West. Not inviting Brian to the water quality symposium cost you and the Marine Sanctuary political and scientific capital among people who know Brian, a number of whom were in the symposium audience. 
 
And, it cost you and the Marine Sanctuary far more than that. 
 
Brian not being invited to the water quality symposium was the metaphysical cause of the Army Corps of Engineers announcing on the very day of symposium that it declined to be a part of bringing all that dirty water, now being diverted to the east and west coasts of Florida, back into the Everglades.
 
The scientists said at Eco-Discovery Center that they have designed an earth filtration system of some kind, which will, they think, clean that dirty water before it is released in to the Glades. However, they barely described the filtration system, even after I spoke to two of them off to the side, after I had said from my seat that the filtration system is essential, and it should have been explained first. The filtration system never really was explained.
 
I kept raising my hand during the ending questions and answers period, to ask that the filtration system be explained with the same depth and detail all the other science had been presented. But I was not called upon. I later found myself wondering if the Corps was concerned about the filtration system not working, and that was the reason it had declined to be involved, even if the Corps did not say that was its reason.
 
I also wanted to say, if I was called upon at the symposium, that what I understood had the east and west coast Floridians up in arms about that dirty water being sent to them, was the dirty water was causing their manatees to die, as explained in my initial report on the symposium.
 
And, I wanted to ask you, specifically, Billy, since you live on Big Pine Key, and since you and some of the scientists had said land-originating pollution is making the Florida Keys water dirty, why you, and NOAA, are not raising hell about biohazard grinder pumps being installed in great numbers on Big Pine and the islands below, above Cudjoe Key?
 
When you and I talked after the symposium, you said you didn’t know much about grinder pumps. and I asked how that could be, since you live on Big Pine? 
 
In fact, during citizen comments at the Marine Sanctuary Steering Committee dirty canal meeting at Marathon Government Center a few months back, I told you and the Steering Committee about the grinder pump threat on Big Pine and the islands below there. 
 
My impression from the ensuing silence and the looks on your and the other other Steering Committee members’ faces was there was no Marine Sanctuary interest in grinder pumps. 
 
Maybe the silence also was due to my also having spoken of the biohazard cruise ships are, about which it seems nothing is being done by Key West, Monroe County, the Marine Sanctuary, or any Florida or US Agency.
 
Maybe the silence also was due to my also having said Brian LaPointe had told me what killed most of the reef was nitrogen, which had filtered down through Florida Bay from the mainland. 
 
One of the scientists said during the water quality symposium in Key West that coral reefs grow where there are no nutrients. I imagine that might translate into even traces of nitrogen on a reef not being conducive to its good health and longevity. You presented a chart during the symposium showing traces of nitrates and phosphorous on our reef.
 
I further imagine that, back when the dirty water was being run though the Everglades, a lot more than just traces of nitrates and phosphates reached the reef down here.
 
Billy, did you ever see the movie, “Minority Report”. If not, I recommend you do. The angels running me say Brian LaPointe is their minority report, which they proved by the Corps bailing out on the same day of the water quality symposium, to which LaPointe was not invited, despite my vigorous efforts to persuade my good friend Naja Girard, President of Last Stand, to invite him.
 
My apologies to Brian for leaving the “e” off the end of his last name in my main post at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sloan, ex-lawyer and otherwise on the lam from Birmingham
  • Brian Lapointe - Florida Atlantic University
    www.fau.edu/hboi/meh/hab.php?
    Florida Atlantic University
     

    Mar 6, 2014 - save our seas plate. This research is funded by proceeds from Florida’s Save Our Seas specialty license plate. Brian E. Lapointe, Ph.D.

Harmful Algal Blooms

MEH HomeProject Team

 
save our seas plate
This research is funded by proceeds from Florida’s Save Our Seas specialty license plate.
 
Brian E. Lapointe, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator


Brian E. Lapointe, Ph.D. 
Research Professor
772-242-2276
blapoin1@fau.edu 

 

Dr. Lapointe’s research interests include algal physiology and biochemistry, seagrass and coral reef ecology, eutrophication, marine bioinvasions and marine conservation.
He has extensive experience in water quality research in South Florida and the Caribbean region. As Chief Scientist on numerous Caribbean and western North Atlantic Ocean research expeditions, he has amassed valuable field experience in assessing relations between water quality and the health of tropical seagrasses and coral reefs. Dr. Lapointe’s long-term water quality monitoring at Looe Key reef in the Florida Keys represents the longest low-level nutrient record for a coral reef anywhere in the world. His work in the Keys led to a strong phosphate ban and new state regulations for Monroe County requiring greater nutrient removal from sewage effluents.
Dr. Lapointe’s work in Florida Bay and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in the 1990s, which utilized stable nitrogen isotopes to “fingerprint” nitrogen sources, was the first to demonstrate the importance of agricultural nitrogen from mainland sources to development of algal blooms in the Keys. He developed the first “ridge-to-reef” water quality monitoring program for the European Union in Negril, Jamaica, a model that has been adopted by Marine Protected Areas around the Caribbean region. Dr. Lapointe has advised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, State of Florida and the governments of Monroe County (Florida Keys), Palm Beach County, Lee County, Bahamas, Tobago, Turks & Caicos, Jamaica, Bonaire, Curacao, Martinique and St. Lucia on development of water quality monitoring programs for assessing the impacts of land-based pollution.
Dr. Lapointe’s Sargassum research has yielded novel insights into the ecology of this macroalgae, the Sargasso Sea and associated communities, including symbiosis with juvenile fish marked by exchange of habitat and nutrients.

 

Dr. Billy Causey 
Billy Causey
Billy Causey is the Southeast Regional Director for the National Marine Sanctuary Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Previously, he had managed National Marine Sanctuaries in the Florida Keys since 1983, when he became the Manager of the Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. As the manager of this marine protected area he developed the education, science and enforcement programs and sustained an interagency partnership between the state and federal governments. He served as the Superintendent of the 2900 square nautical mile Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary from August 1991 to September 2, 2006, when he assumed his current position. Billy has been the lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official in the development of the management plan for the Keys Sanctuary, including development of this nation’s first comprehensive marine zoning plan. He led efforts to establish the largest network of fully protected areas in the continental US. He serves as the liaison with local, state and other federal agencies responsible for management of natural resources in the Southeast Region. Billy’s academic interests are in coral reef ecology, coral reef fishes, sustainable management, impacts from climate change, marine policy and marine zoning. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Corpus Christi in 1967, and a Master of Science degree from Texas A&I University in 1969. Three years of post graduate work at the University of South Florida introduced him to the Florida Keys coral reef ecosystem. On May 6, 2006, Billy Causey was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate in Science from the University of South Florida. Billy has served on the Governor’s Commission for Sustainable South Florida and on the Working Group for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. Most recently, he was appointed to serve on the State of Florida’s Ocean and Coastal Resources Council. He has received numerous national and international awards for his work in marine protected areas.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sloan 
 
Follow up from me:
 
Hi again, Billy -

 
As if it was arranged by some mysterious force, I just now returned from about an hour’s visit with Joel and Erika Biddle at their home. Joel said he liked what I posted to goodmorningfloridakeys.com about the water quality symposium, and that I, too, saw that you folks simply to not have the ability at this time to clean up all the dirty water now headed east and west, instead of into the Everglades. 
 
Joel told me of various ways that can be combined, which might, in the future, take care of a lot of the dirty water, if a national emergency is declared and the funding then is provided. 
 
What sounded like the best idea was simply buying up all the farmland from which rainwater carries farm chemicals down toward the Everglades. I can’t imagine how much that would cost, nor can I imagine how long it would be before the rainwater runoff from that farmland would be clean enough to allow into the Everglades. I imagine the runoff would need to be treated and neutralized for several years.
 
It’s a giant mess, and as with all giant messes, the first step in trying to resolve it is putting all the information in plain view, especially the bad news. From there, perhaps something will evolve toward an improvement, although perhaps not a entirely happy solution. Or perhaps there is no solution at this time. 
 
Perhaps the best course simply is to continue sending the dirty water east and west, and not into the Everglades. Perhaps treatment plants can be built on the canal to clean up the dirty water en route to the east and west coasts. 
 
I’m no scientist, but I knew at the symposium, when there was no detailed explanation of how the dirty water would be cleaned up before it was allowed into the Everglades, that there was the problem and all the rest of the discussion basically became a diversion. 
 
When I told Joel Erika that the Everglades Law Firm lady lawyer did not call on me after the presentations was because she did not want me go back into the what I had raised from my seat, the lack of a believable solution to cleaning up the dirty water before it was allowed into the Everglades, Joel and Erika agreed with me.
 
The angels arranged for me to have that conversation with Joel and Erika tonight, because you view them as friends. You did not win them over the other night. To the contrary, actually. They told me more than I cared to hear about the history of your and Brian LaPointe’s “disagreement”, and that an award Last Stand was going to give to Brian was nixed because you objected.
 
Sloan
keysmyhome@hotmail.com
Sloan at Coco's
photo taken by amiga Rose Dell,
Rose Dell
Coco’s Kitchen, Big Pine Key Shopping Center
Coco's Kitchen

About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also goodmorningkeywest.com and goodmorningbirmingham.com. If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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