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Southeast Florida’s Water Quality Monitoring Program Expands

Feb 14th 18


Coral reefs received a major victory as of late, at least in Southeast Florida, reveals a recent Southeast Florida Coral Reef Initiative newsletter. Thanks to $500,000 in funding for the 2017­–2018 fiscal year to monitor the water quality of the coral reefs in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties, the Coral Reef Conservation Program has added 88 sites to the already existing nutrient water quality monitoring pilot project being conducted at St. Lucie Inlet and Government Cut. The result is a total of 115 inlet, outfall, and randomized reef sites now being monitored monthly — the first time such extensive water quality monitoring has taken place in the region.


The goal? To establish a long-term water quality monitoring program for the northern portion of the Florida Reef Tract not encompassed by Biscayne National Park or the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.


Sampling at the St. Lucie Inlet and Government Cut began in 2016 by DEP’s Coral Reef Conservation Program and Florida State Parks staff, funded as part of a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service. During the first month of the expansion project in September 2017, around 1,070 samples were collected on the outgoing tide to be analyzed for nutrients, which will help researchers assess the impact of land-based sources of pollution on the health of near shore reefs. All samples are currently being collected by Nova Southeastern University and analyzed by Broward County’s Environmental Lab and the TDI Brooks Lab at Texas A&M University (a NOAA partner).


Now, that’s a win for the environment.


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