Water-Related News

SCCF to host public meeting on Caloosahatchee/IRL water quality data

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Join SCCF for a Discussion of Algae Blooms, the Charlotte Harbor Estuary, and RECON

This Friday at 2 pm, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) will host a public meeting to discuss SCCF's RECON and Florida Atlantic University's IRLON, which both provide real-time monitoring of water quality conditions. In the past, samples were collected manually and analyzed in a lab. It was virtually impossible to capture events as they were happening. SCCF's RECON, the River, Estuary, and Ocean Observing Network and IRLON, the Indian River Lagoon Observatory Network of Environmental Sensors, provide real-time data. This new capability gives scientists, water quality managers, and the public the ability to observe present conditions and plan for the future. SCCF pioneered the new technology beginning in 2007, and manages eight sensors in the Caloosahatchee and around Sanibel and Captiva.

Dr. Eric Milbrandt, Director of the SCCF Marine Laboratory, will be presenting data from RECON to show how freshwater and subsequent algae blooms affected the lower estuary as a result of the 2015-2016 El Nino. The record breaking rainfall and flood control policies caused unusually low salinities and high tannins (colored dissolved organic matter) around Sanibel. At locations in the lower estuary, such as McIntyre Creek, in "Ding" Darling NWR, and Tarpon Bay, phytoplankton blooms occurred when Lake Okeechobee and the watershed flows exceeded 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Other observations from the upper Caloosahatchee by Dr. Rick Bartleson showed the unusual blue-green algae bloom that was prevalent for the past 2 months.

Dr. Milbrandt and the SCCF Marine Lab welcome special guest, Dr. Ian Walsh, who will be presenting an analysis from an observing network on the east coast that was modeled after RECON.

Dr. Ian Walsh, Director of Science and Senior Oceanographer Sea-Bird Scienttic and WET Labs, Inc., will provide a perspective on the recent algae crisis based on the data broadcast from the St. Lucie Estuary (SLE) by Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch's Indian River Lagoon Observatory Network of Environmental Sensors (IRLON). IRLON consists of Land/Ocean Biogeochemical Observatory (LOBO) units and weather stations at 10 sites througout the Indian River Lagoon, including 5 sites in the St. Lucie Estuary (LOBO is the manufacturer's name for what SCCF named RECON). Dr. Walsh has relied upon the expertise and work of Harbor Branch Drs. Brian Lapointe and Dennis Hanisak in developing this analysis, demonstrating that live data serves as a coalescence mechanism for team building during a crisis.

The program will be followed by a Q&A session with Dr. Milbrandt and Dr. Walsh.

Where: SCCF Nature Center, 3333 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel.
When: Friday, July 29, at 2 pm.
No need to RSVP.