Primarily, Red tide is a common name for the large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms such as unicellular algae and protozoans (the diatoms and the dinoflagellates) called the algal bloom. Lake Okeechobee also known as Florida's inland sea, alongside St. Lucie River deals with a high concentration of algal blooms caused by large volumes of blue-algae (cyanobacteria) also referred to as the Microcystin (Ansari, 2014). The level of these nutrients in the lake is perpetuated by the water runoffs with the high-level saturation of nutrients and chemicals from agricultural fields upstream.
Significantly, owing to the immense buildup of the Red Tides in the Precious Lake of Okeechobee, the Florida State Department, to begin with, have enacted and adopted various rules and regulation from the federal states to deal with the menace. In accordance to the supreme constitution of the federal government of the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandated under the two core statutes; Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) and Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act (FIFRA) to regulate the sale and use of the pesticide by farmers.
Licenses Provision and Control of Pesticide Use
In Florida State Department via the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) has adopted the above legislations in the Lake Okeechobee region thus establishing the generic pesticide permit, which allows application of pesticides to surface waters if only the conditions of the permit are met. In accordance with chapter 487 of the Florida statutes, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service (FDAC) provide both private and commercial farmers with Agriculturally Related Pest Applicator License. The licenses are meant to restrict to uses of pesticides in agricultural fields alongside good management strategies to ensure discharge of Cleaner Water into the Lake.
Application of the right quantities of pesticides to kill weeds and algae themselves using the appropriate management is appropriate alongside mitigation strategies of the cause of Red tides. The two mitigation strategies to ensure the discharge of clean and fewer nutrients saturated surface water runoff operates simultaneously (Ji, 2017).
An array of nutrients promotes the growth of algae in lakes and oceans. The primary nutrients that encourage this growth in both the Lake Okeechobee and anywhere else in the world are excess phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients from the agricultural fields. Lake Okeechobee is known for heavy infestation by algal gloom that has culminated into to degradation of the lake ecosystem causing the death of the aquatic animals (Pauli, 2010). Nonetheless, the rules and regulations enforced by the Florida statutes have registered some improvement in the management of the situation.
Strategies for Clean Water Discharge into the Lake
Moreover, the laws enforce and promote fundamental solutions to the Red tides menace especially in Lake Okeechobee. The farmers at Sarasota are mandated by the rule and regulation to control the red tide by ensuring cleaner and less nutrition-saturated waters are released into the lake by runoffs. Firstly, the laws restrict and monitor the use of phosphoric and nitrogen fertilizers that are a primary nutrient that perpetuate the growth of algae in Lake Okeechobee.
The above direction will reduce the excess nitrogen and phosphoric nutrients that get their way into the lake through surface water runoff. Therefore, the legislation passed to allow the polluters of the lake to continue discharging phosphorous only with best management practices such as not making fertilizer application when the weather forecasting calls for the heavy downpour. Further measures to ensure clean water discharge include the initiative by the government to provide grants to homeowners or landowners to switch from septic tanks to central sewer systems, which is a strategy to reduce one source of phosphorous (Ji, 2017).
In conclusion, the use of pesticide in agriculture to kill weeds and the Red tides is an effective way used in a controlled manner with best management practices. Furthermore, the strategy can be used to restore the Okeechobee diversity if the mitigation strategies of algal bloom that leads to discharge of cleaner and less nutrient saturated runoff waters are addressed.
Ansari, A. A., & Gill, S. S. (2014). Eutrophication: Causes, Consequences and Control: Volume 2. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.
Ji, Z.-G. (2017). Hydrodynamics and water quality: Modeling rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Hoboken, NJ John Wiley, and Sons, Inc.
Pauli, G. (2010). The blue economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs: report to the Club of Rome. Taos, NM: Paradigm.
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