Island resident says, ‘Speak out and tell the truth’

August 24, 2018
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
I read the article from Mote President Dr. Michael Crosby and was left knowing I had been completely duped. In his closing paragraphs he said, “As we see the impacts of these blooms, we are all sharing a blend of emotions-sadness, resolve, anger, desperation and hope for the future. An unfortunate part of human nature is to sometimes feel the need to point a narrow finger of blame and believe that if only we were able to change one thing the problem would go away”
“Perhaps it’s time to tone down political and emotional rhetoric and work together to support innovative research and technological development to actually mitigate the impacts of Red Tide and get our marine and coastal ecosystems back in balance.”
Here is the deception … we know we have been deceived.
You know the problem is run-off, its nutrients and phosphate pollution; from Residential, Industrial, and Agricultural sources.
All Floridians know, the dumping from Lake Okeechobee, west to the Caloosahatchee and east to the Saint Lucie is wrong and always has been destructive to our environment. Every guide on Boca Grande knows that two to three weeks after a big rain event, we would have brown water and a red tide. Flood control doesn’t solve anything, it only delivers the water quicker to the Gulf and to the Atlantic.
The Lake Okeechobee and The Army Corps of Engineer’s reservoir solution now has proven to be a huge economic and environmental mess.  An unmanageable runoff problem! Because it doesn’t work environmentally. Turning Lake Okeechobee into a reservoir is the mistake!
We need a “River of Grass” going south to the Everglades, it will clean and use the nutrients in the Lake O water, and the lake should be a wetland not a reservoir.
This “River Of Grass” has been taken by all the Agriculture, south of Lake Okeechobee.
Fertilizer used by these companies and their lands need to be tested for any types of contaminants.
We need to undo what has been done. It’s time for Florida to heal!
It’s up to all of us to make this happen.
I don’t need Mote to point its narrow finger at me and blame me!
Science and Politics have let us down. If the red tide and now algae have always been here, then where have you been? Where is Mote’s position on the Corp’s solution on Lake Okeechobee vs Science? Where is Mote’s position on the dumping of water by Water Districts vs science? Agriculture vs science? Residential and Development vs science? I believe you are hiding behind “the science” and holding back what all of Florida already knows … Florida’s plumbing is broken, the Red Tides are worse and more often. The algae issues are a result of summer heat and nutrients. It’s now a public health problem! I believe science and politics don’t have the stomach to speak out or undo what has been done to our environment, our land and our water! Florida’s Resident’s and Business’s have all suffered. Science must be in the debate! Progress without “your boney little fingers” won’t work! You must give real actionable information about our mistakes. Turning a wetland into a fresh water reservoir and dumping of billions of gallons of water into salt water will always turn out bad. You’re Silence is deafening and “we just need to do another study” is the problem!
Arch Hager
Boca Grande