State Sen. Linda Stewart, D- Orlando, and state Rep. Joy Goff-Marcil, D- Maitland, have filed legislation to put into law several major recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force.
In the wake of a slew of toxic algae outbreaks, Gov. Ron DeSantis created the Blue-Green Algae Task Force (BGATF) in 2019 to “improve water quality for the benefit of all Floridians.” The Task Force’s consensus report was issued in October 2019, with multiple recommendations for basin management action plans (BMAPs), agriculture, human waste, stormwater, technology, public health, and science. Last year saw the adoption of the “Clean Waterways Act” (SB 712) – a bill that enacted many of the Task Force’s recommendations and laid the groundwork to implement some of its most significant and comprehensive ideas.
‘The BGATF did an excellent job of identifying ongoing threats to water quality, but realizing its full promise will require enactment of additional substantive legislation. SB 1522 takes the critical next step toward protecting Florida’s most precious water resources,” Stewart said.
“Clean water initiatives have an urgent and prioritized consensus for all Floridians, regardless of political affiliations. It is not just an issue of sustainability and our environment, but also an economic necessity when evaluating the cost that harmful algal blooms cause on Florida’s seafood, restaurant, and tourism industries each year,” said Goff-Marcil.
These bills deal with these Task Force recommendations not addressed by the Clean Waterways Act:
- Assessment of the effectiveness of BMAP projects
- Better assessment in BMAPs of changing demographics, alterations in land use and altered hydrology
- Targeting of suites of BMAP projects to yield maximum pollutant reduction
- Better tracking of agricultural fertilizer applications
- Better justification of the benefits of agricultural best management practices (BMPs)
- Notice of intent to implement BMPs should include estimates of load and input reductions
- Development of a septic system inspection and monitoring system
- Development of a stormwater inspection and monitoring system