Researchers puzzled by wildlife deaths in Florida

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Researchers are perplexed by a year-long spike in manatee, dolphin and pelican deaths in the shallow lagoons and brackish waters of Florida’s Indian River estuary.

About 280 manatees have died in the last 12 months along 50 miles of northern estuary waters off Brevard County and the Kennedy space complex, 109 of them under mysterious circumstances, according to The New York Times. As the manatee deaths peaked this spring, there were then hundreds of pelican deaths along the same stretch of water, followed this summer by scores of bottlenose dolphin deaths.

While the exact cause is unknown, researchers and state officials fear it’s the collapse of the natural balance that sustains more than 4,300 species of wildlife in the estuary’s northern reaches.

“We may have reached a tipping point,” Troy Rice, who directs the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program, told the Times. The program is a federal, state and local government partnership at the St. Johns River Water Management District.

Rice says rapid population growth and pollution generated by coastal Florida’s explosive development are among the likely causes of the environmental imbalance.

Click here for the full report.


3 comments on “Researchers puzzled by wildlife deaths in Florida

  1. Rayboat

    Ha Ha! Like there is any doubt? All of the waterways of Florida have reached a stage of pollution where there is almost no turning back. The definition of pollution in Florida Is that if it affects Business in anyway It has to be caused by something other than the failure of a natural balance. Perhaps these 3 species have been thinking bad thoughts and thats why they died. Or maybe its because these species didn’t want to do their share in keeping the environment clean. Nevertheless, don’t expect the truth to come to the forefront..not here in Florida! By the way, anyone read about the DO NOT TOUCH the water warning in effect for the St. Lucie River? It was heartening to finally see a community awake to the fact that agriculture and industry have taken from us a way of life! Way to go Rick Scott!

  2. bohemiaken

    Hmmm? oops, spilled billions of gallons of raw crude into the gulf and now wildlife is dying. Hmmm?

  3. Ybroker47

    At age 66 and a native of Brevard County, I have witnessed many changes in the rivers and offshore Brevard. The one thing you can always count on is the environmentalists will always blame the people using the resource and the Government will never blame the actual source of the pollution. One of the most ludicrous statements is blaming the pollution on septic tanks. Does anyone really believe there are more septic tanks in the county now than ten years ago? Come on now they don’t approve mega-developments without hookup to treatment plants and have not for years. The last people Government will blame are the real culprits here and that is the agricultural interests out in Western Brevard. Where do you think the run off goes from these areas during heavy rains? If you sample all the water management canals as they dump into the water, I think you will find a major source. Another is the recent construction of storm drainage for the now residential developments West of I95, which also now dump into the River lagoon. One final note, the local residents and fishing interests have for years begged the authorities to open the Port Canaveral locks to allow salt water into the Lagoon to counter the massive influx of fresh water. They response is, ” It might interfere with the cruise ship operations or silt in the port!
    As always, follow the money.

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