Cori Scott Perna, Priscilla Cundy, and Nell Brewer had the privilege of attending the "Our Water" Forum, presented by the Stuart Rotary Club and hosted at the Monarch Country Club in Palm City, on Saturday Sept. 22nd 9am to noon. We attended as representatives of the Martin County High School Science Club, accompanied by one of our student members, Sara Satchell.
The panel of speakers included Congressman Brian Mast, Mayor Kevin Ruane of the City of Sanibel, Lt. Colonel Jennifer Reynolds of the Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Representative Gayle Harrell, Captain Daniel Andrews of Captains for Clean Water, Ms. Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch of the River Coalition, and Mr. Brandon Tucker of SFWMD.
On behalf of Martin County High School Science Club, the following questions were submitted:
1) What agencies or organizations do you turn to for data and status updates on the water quality of the Indian River Lagoon?
2) What type of data or water quality information are you looking at specifically (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus, ammonia, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, turbidity, cyanobacteria toxins)?
Both questions were addressed by the panel. Representative Gayle Harrell said her sources include the DEP, SFWM, Army Corps of Engineers, Health Department, and FWC. She added they have provided an Indian River Lagoon Update (we have copies to disseminate), which discusses the importance of monitoring sea grass beds, nitrogen, phosphorous, and chlorophyl. Jacqui Therlow Lippisch confirmed that is the duty of the State, not the US Federal Government to address our water quality.
Websites that can be utilized for additional information:
Overall there were multiple perspectives shared on the issues effecting our local waterways, as well as a multitude of interconnected plans and proposed solutions. The Science Club was happy to represent our school, along with Clark Advanced Learned Center, to learn more about how our students can become informed and involved.