Issues of Interest

WHITE FLIES A rare strain of white fly, called the Q-biotype, poses a threat to the $500 million tomato industry in Florida. The fly, which researchers say is resistant to the insecticides that farmers have used to kill the common whiteflies for decades, has been showing up in nurseries and greenhouses. The Florida Department of Agriculture has issued warnings to consumers, greenhouses and farmers throughout the state to watch out for whiteflies and send in samples for testing.

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON FISH KILLS The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received more than 30 reports from Brevard County involving fish kills last month. The kills are believed to have been associated with an ongoing algae bloom in the Banana River and northern and central Indian River over the past month. Too much of the algae, called Pyrodinium bahamense, can produce toxins and can lower dissolved oxygen levels in the water, resulting in fish kills.

LAKE OKEECHOBEE Florida Senate President-Designate Joe Negron has proposed a $2.4 billion plan to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges.  He would like to see the State buy sixty thousand acres to build a reservoir to clean and eventually send water into the Everglades rather than to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.  The proposed cost would be evenly split between the state and federal governments.

POLLUTION INCIDENCES NOTIFICATION Senate Majority Leader Bill Galvano will seek to strengthen a state law that notifies nearby citizens of a pollution threat in a timely manner. His decision was prompted by a sinkhole which caused 215 million gallons of water contaminated by phosphoric acid to dump into the groundwater at the Mosaic phosphate plant near Mulberry.

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