Why Is Lyngbya Removal Not Going Faster?
The waters of Kings Bay are a haven for a wide diversity of aquatic life and a beacon of recreational activities such as boating, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, and diving.
These waters represent an enormous economic impact in the community of Crystal River and Citrus County. Many residents and hundreds of thousands of visitors each year come to the Crystal River, an Outstanding Florida Waterway, to enjoy our first magnitude springs, natural settings, wildlife, and, of course, the Florida Manatee. However, Kings Bay and Crystal River need your help to repair the damage that has been caused by the explosive growth of the blue-green algae known as Lyngbya and the damaging effects of special interest opposition to the cleanup project.
Special Interest Group Opposition
Hand Raking and mechanical removal methods are state permitted activities embraced and managed by Save Crystal River and Kings Bay Rotary and heartily endorsed unanimously by elected officials and state agencies alike. Save Crystal River received the required permits and the endorsement of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Southwest Florida Management District. The work began and many tons of Lyngbya were mechanically removed from Kings Bay.
Then, a special interest group filed an administrative challenge against our permit and threatened us with a lawsuit. The mechanical harvesting of Lyngbya stopped while the two sides tried to reach an agreement.
While additional permits have been applied for, hand raking is our only option for Lyngbya removal. The work has slowed but not stopped.
We need your help and vocal support to remove special interest obstacles that are slowing our efforts to clean the bay. Every day we are prevented from mechanically raking the bay, the Lyngbya continues to multiple and spread.
No evidence of harm to the bay due to mechanical raking has been shown to have occurred in the more than 20 years that these methods have been used. Yet, the opposition continues.
Let’s Do The Math
Due to objections raised and lawsuits threatened by this special interest group, Save Crystal River has been prevented from using the mechanical harvesters to clean up the bay for more than 6 months. We have worked tirelessly with state government to apply for an Environmental Resource Permit that will allow us to continue our work. That permitting process is nearly completed, but let’s look at what happens when mechanical harvesting is prevented.
Based on a four day work week, the number of days the Save Crystal River mechanical harvesting was prevented from taking place by the special interest group objections for a total of 183 working days.
The average daily amount of Lyngbya that can be mechanically removed is estimated by workers at approximately 477 cubic feet per day.
Therefore, if Save Crystal River had not been the target of special interest group opposition, the mechanical harvesters could have removed nearly nearly 90,000 cubic feet of Lyngbya from Kings Bay:
183 working days x 477 cubic feet/day of Lyngbya =
87,291 cubic feet of Lyngbya from Kings Bay
At a weight of 40lbs/cubic foot that means that between 1,745.82 tons and 2000 tons of Lyngbya were left in Kings Bay to continue to grow and reproduce in Kings Bay!!
How Can You Help The Mechanical Harvesters to Get Going Again?
Save Crystal River has received donations, grants, and fundraising proceeds to operate the mechanical harvesters. We need your help to stop the interference by the special interest groups so that this important work can continue. Talk to your legislators and other elected officials, talk to the members and leadership of any special interest group that is actively working against this work, and encourage everyone to support the Kings Bay Lyngbya Removal Project without further delays.
A community as fortunate as ours is to have such an incredibly special environment to live in should not be prevented from cleaning up our own aquatic backyard by others – especially those who do not live here, pay taxes here, and work and raise their families here. Let’s all pull together and continue the work of Cleaning Up Kings Bay!
Help us restore Kings Bay to their original crystal clear waters teaming with native grasses and a wealth of fish, birds, and other wildlife.
This should be our legacy to future generations – clean, pristine waters like many of us enjoyed in years past.