Capstone Title

The Effects of Freshwater Inflow on Florida Bay and the Proliferation and Persistence of Algal Blooms

Defense Date

1-4-2014

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

M.S. Coastal Zone Management

First Advisor

Donald McCorquodale

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney

Abstract

Urban runoff has long been a concern to local and state entities due to the impact on the health of lakes and rivers and has prompted intensive best management practices for stormwater. As more of Florida’s water bodies have become impacted, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has implemented a comprehensive approach to protecting Florida’s water quality. Their plan involves basin-wide assessments and a full range of regulatory, non-regulatory and incentive based actions to reduce pollution. This literature review indicates that historical trends in population growth and land use changes are the primary reasons for degraded water quality and declining critical habitats of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades system. These changes inevitably impact Florida Bay.

Restoration and conservation efforts will be focused within the Kissimmee Upper Chain of Lakes, the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and estuaries, Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park and South Florida’s coastal bays. It is the intention of various strategic plans to restore the area to a more historical and natural hydrology. Plans for individual watersheds within the basin are striving to improve water quality, increase water storage capacities and recreate essential habitat for threatened and endangered species. Each watershed will still provide flood protection and water usage for human populations through the purchase of agricultural lands.

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