STUART, Fla. — The US House on Thursday gave approval to a bill that would direct several federal agencies to team up and study the algae blooms in South Florida and Treasure Coast.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brain Mast of Stuart, says the agencies are already studying algae in the Great Lakes and he says they need to also focus on Florida.
Mast says agencies like NOAA, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers can all offer information on how alga is growing, and how it can be controlled.
The algae have been noticeably absent this summer from the Treasure Coast due in part to limits on water releases from Lake Okeechobee into waterways to the east.
The lower lake levels, however, have upset Lake Okeechobee fishermen who say it’s now hurting their industry as the sportfishing tourist season approaches.
Along the coast, many say they are now seeing an improvement in water quality in the St. Lucie River.
“The river needs to be fixed and it's getting there but we have to stay consistent with it,” says Paul Daly, owner of the Pelican Café in Stuart.