MISSION: To initiate and sustain serious, meaningful, open, and intellectually honest civil dialogue regarding the nature of our social, economic, political, moral, and legal obligations to ourselves and our posterity.
To involve interested individuals, governmental agencies, elected officials, and non-governmental organizations in the careful development, implementation and maintenance of programs which protect, rehabilitate, and support a stable and beneficial environment and economy for ourselves and our posterity.
All Future Generations of People
Florida's Blue-Green Algae Task Force
Can Science Regain Relevance in the Realm of Environmental Regulation and Management?
E. Allen Stewart III P.E.
March 4, 2020
As a longtime advocate for a science-based strategy for water resource management, I have become skeptical of technical advisory groups. Many of these groups either succumb to the pressures of short-term economic interests; are created simply to serve as a rubber stamp for these interests; or when legitimate, find their recommendations are given a place on a dusty shelf to be forgotten forever. When I first heard about the Blue-Green Algae Task Force, I was again skeptical. I am pleased that I have found this skepticism to be unwarranted.
The Blue-Green Algae Task Force, in their Consensus report of October 2019, as was their charge, remained true to science in their initial evaluations into what elicited the extensive Cyanobacterial blooms of 2015-2019 in South Florida, and in so doing, challenged several existing environmental regulatory strategies—including the “presumption of compliance” applied to stormwater designs as noted in Fl. Stat 373.4131(3)(b) (2013). We should all appreciate the efforts of the Task Force, for they offer suggestions which, if implemented, would result in extensive and helpful adjustments to how society confronts issues of environmental degradation.
While the implication is subtle, the Consensus Report serves as a reminder that science is persistent. While it may be convenient to reject, ignore or deny science in order to accommodate short-term financial returns, science inevitably will prevail and expose miscalculations—whether accidental or intentional. And this exposure can be and often is dramatic, disruptive and damaging to economic interests, and more importantly, to our posterity. Such is the nature of the recent Cyanobacterial blooms in South Florida.