The Everglades is vast, and restoration is complex. We’re breaking it down visually for you.

Growing public health threat requires bold action now.

This photo could be a a glimpse into our future.

The Lake Worth Waterkeeper captured the image of blue-green algae at the Lake Okeechobee Pahokee Marina on April 26, 2021 — a month shy of the official start to Florida’s rainy season, and the same day that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection reported the microcystin concentration at the marina had reached 860 parts per billion — 107 times more toxic than the EPA recreational limit for safe human contact.

Just five days later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the Lake Okeechobee blue-green algae bloom had expanded to an estimated 300 square miles as indicated by satellite imagery.

These blooms present a direct public health threat to communities living around and downstream of Lake Okeechobee. The near-term outlook for the co-occurring blue-green algae and red tide blooms is potentially catastrophic for the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, as well as the Lake Worth Lagoon — all of which receive polluted discharges from Lake O.

Now is the time to act.

Friends of the Everglades joined representatives from 14 organizations requesting Gov. DeSantis issue an emergency order related to the ongoing toxic algal blooms.

On Monday, the same day we sent the request, DeSantis flew over Lake Okeechobee and held a media conference calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to move more water south during the dry season. OK. But only 20 days remain in this year’s dry season. And the South Florida Water Management District (which answers to DeSantis) sent too little Lake Okeechobee water south to the taxpayer-funded Stormwater Treatment Areas over the past year — only 9% of the total. Most of the rest came from sugarcane field runoff. State government has a role to play here, too.

Read our letter to Gov. DeSantis by clicking the button below.