From the desk of our Executive Director, Eve Samples, your Voice of the Everglades update:

This month’s record temperatures across Florida were more than uncomfortable. Triple-digit heat indexes during the normally temperate month of May raise significant environmental concerns — from coral bleaching in the Keys to wildfires on the mainland.

And then there’s the threat of toxic algae. Higher air and water temperatures can impact the timing and intensity of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria. Toxins in these algae blooms pose an acute threat to public health, with scientific research linking them to liver disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS and Alzheimer’s.  

Yet the state of Florida has failed to take adequate action to protect us from these risks. 

Instead, we’ve seen a piecemeal, reactive approach to monitoring and testing blue-green algae and alerting the public when toxins are present. 

That’s why Friends of the Everglades is joining the Center for Biological Diversity and other allies in a formal request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that seeks new standards for cyanotoxins under the Clean Water Act. We hope the EPA will step in and act where the state of Florida has failed to. 

It’s clear this problem isn’t going away.

Intense algae blooms on Lake Okeechobee have become an annual occurrence, with blooms spanning several hundred square miles — so big they’re visible from space. When lake levels are high, those toxic blooms are discharged into populated areas on the east and west coasts. 

Friends of the Everglades has a long history of pushing government agencies to follow the law to protect our environment, public health and economy. We’re proud to stand with our allies in this formal petition to EPA. And we’re grateful for the support you provide that enables this work.