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St. Lucie Estuary Struggling with Discharge Releases
Several factors have combined to environmentally damage the St. Lucie Estuary including the effects of hurricanes, land use and water management. However, the discharging water from Lake Okeechobee combined with local stormwater runoff has killed off oysters and seagrasses, given fish lesions, caused algal blooms and raised coliform levels in the water to a point that’s unsafe for humans.

Estuaries in general and the St. Lucie Estuary in particular, contain a mixture of salt water and fresh water. Lowering salinity levels for extended periods kills the marine life that has adapted to the brackish water. In its natural state years ago, the estuary could handle periodic influxes of fresh water, but now it can’t tolerate all of the fresh water that’s being dumped into it, and neither can the organisms living in it.

 
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Boaters Work to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species - Eighty-seven percent of boaters and anglers said they remove plants from their boat before leaving the land in 2010 compared to 76 percent in 2009. Adopting this practice is important because boat traffic between lakes is the primary way that aquatic invasive plants such as Eurasian Water Milfoil and Curly-Leaf Pondweed spread to new, uninfected lakes.


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