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Thread: Agricultural runoff and Weeki Wachee

  1. #1

    Agricultural runoff and Weeki Wachee

    Back in 2013 National Geographic ran an article on the problems artificial nitrogen fertilizers are causing in ecosystems around the world

    In the photo gallery that accompanied the article

    one of the examples they used was Weeki Wachee Springs- comparing the relatively barren floor of the spring today, to what it was like in the 1940s.

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    Caption: "When the mermaid show at Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida made its debut in 1947, the bathing beauties swam among waving fronds of eelgrass. Today algae fed by nitrogen fertilizer from farms and lawns crowd out many of the springs’ native plants." Photo by Peter Essick

    You can see the original plant life in this silent 16mm film made in 1948

    When my family moved to Canada I saw a lake near our new home that had been protected from pollution, and had beautiful beds of seagrass and bottlebrush plants; succumb to agricultural runoff and become relatively barren. In this case though, it happened much faster.

    OTOH, when my family moved there Lake Ontario was a greenish, disgusting mess, and in the intervening years cleanup efforts have the water looking clear, and they have the blue flag approval of the beach water quality. Lots of fish swarm in the shallows around the beaches now, and there are beautiful stands of bottlebrush plants off places like Cherry Beach in Toronto, with predator fish lurking inside waiting to lunge out and grab the little guys.

    Something can be done about this.
    Last edited by AptaMer; 05-05-2017 at 10:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Not too much can be done, except stopping the pollution at the source. Once it's in the spring, nothing can be done for maybe 100 years or so. More or less you have to wait it out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    That's a really interesting article. (P,s HI CAPTAIN NEMO NICE TO SEE YOU POSTING)

    I noticed this in Rainbow River when I visited too. Just very barren.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Pod of The South Blaze6081's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Sarasota Florida
    I have lived in SWFL my entire life in a small beach town that used to be a pristine paradise. I have seen the effects first hand of how harmful this run off can be to not only springs to the ocean as well. We have an algae which we call red tide. With this run off it basically feeds this algae creating huge expanses of this toxic algae. Now my beaches that were pristine when I was a child look like a graveyard for marine life. Large fish (like Goliath grouper), sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, and every species of fish in the area are being killed off. There are so many dead animals that dumpsters are over flowing with dead marine life. I work on the beach and seeing the devastating effects pollution has caused breaks my heart in two.


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