On April 24th our guest speaker was Diana Bolton, USCG Master Captain, and sailing instructor. Diana is local, growing up and attending Indian River County schools. She studied Florida Master Naturalist at the University of Florida and Environmental Marine Science at Florida Keys Community College. Diana returned to Sebastian in 2018 from Pine Island, FL after spending 10 years researching water quality, coral and seagrass restoration, and algae. She researched federal, state and local regulation and ordinances.
The water dumped from Lake Okeechobee is unhealthy and travels south past the keys and then northward. There are “red zones to the north and south of Indian River County. Our Sebastian Inlet flushes our lagoon and keeps our water healthier. All in all, there are over 600,000 species of algae which provides 60-70% of our oxygen. One particular species can live in both salt and fresh water and cleans the water at an accelerated pace.
Spraying algae worsens the pollution problem and releases more micro toxins in the air which are spread for miles by wind and pollen. Spraying kills wildlife and destroys the habitat creating more muck and killing plants. It has also been linked to citrus “greening.” There are over 700 toxic sprays, many containing the chemical glyphosate. Fifteen illnesses have been linked to its use.
It is important not to kill the food web. In Sebastian, the Stormwater Park has 5 ponds. The park is sprayed monthly under contract with the city. There is little foliage because of spraying and therefore are no waterfowl or birds. Legislators should be asked to pass a moratorium which completely bans pesticides and stops spraying so that seagrass can be restored, coral regrown and our habitats preserved.
In concluding her presentation Diana said, “We need to protect our beautiful gem of a town – its children, people, pets and wildlife. We can’t solve the world problems, but we can keep it beautiful here. It starts with us.”
On April 24th we presented Chris Robertson, Executive Director of C.A.S.T.L.E. with a check for $3000. In accepting his check Chris thanked us and said it will fund the High Hopes Program. The High Hopes Program is a support group for children who are experiencing the emotional consequences of their parents’ divorce, separation, incarceration, or deployment.