The Eco Preservation Project
The goal of The Eco Preservation Project is using free education to end environmental apathy in the state of Florida and globally, in order to give citizens the proper tools to make decisions based on a right and wrong way of living with mother earth to preserve the ecosystem in which all life depends through global education.
We wish to shine a light for the world to see so that all mankind may light the flame that exists in each of us to live responsibly with the natural resources we’ve been given.
Why the EPP Started
The Eco Preservation Project was created by Garrett Stuart, a marine biologist and of 54 algae
scientists in the world. After spending several years’ educating about the importance of the coral reef systems in the Florida Keys, he became aware of the massive pollution occurring on the main land due to red tide and blue-green algae blooms. Garrett knew he could make a difference with his expertise and unique way of storytelling. He decided to move to Florida’s west coast to be closer to the problem and begin a project of
educating about cause and effect and solutions.
What Donations are Used For
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Most frequent questions and answers
Red tide is at dinoflagellate known as K. Brevis and is a marine algae that when in high concentrations, a visible red to pinkish pigmentation can be seen in the water. K Brevis is a natural occurring algae that has concentrated when the conditions are right in the past. Algae needs three things to survive: sunlight, warmth, and nutrition; particularly phosphorus and nitrogen. That being said, it is obvious that human activity plays a major role in these tides as our sewage, agricultural runoff, our general way of landscaping, and phosphate mining are all significant contributors. Algae growth takes valuable oxygen away from fish and can result in death, as well as fish dying from brevitoxins, a deadly neurotoxin produced by K. Brevis.
Lake Okeechobee covers an area of 734 mi.², yet an average depth of only 8 feet. Phosphates and nitrates from fertilizers and sewage runoff into the lake as a result of leaching because of Florida soil type and settle at the bottom. Keep in mind this is from decades and decades of abuse, however we are experiencing one of the worst blooms in history in 2018 largely because of Hurricane Irma. This massive storm stirred up the nitrates in the phosphates in the shallow but large lake and suspended them into the water column, making it an easier food source for the natural cyanobacteria that lives towards the top of the water column where sunlight is available. With adequate rainfall, and humid warm weather the cyanobacteria bloomed to an epic proportion with its available food source easily accessible.
Cyanobacteria blooms in Lake Okeechobee a result of nutrient pollution. With available nitrates and phosphates from human activity suspended into the water column, cyanobacteria took a quick advantage of the situation. Because the dike at Lake Okeechobee is in serious jeopardy, the Army Corps of Engineers had to release the water somewhere. Even though many may say that big sugar is to the south, a major reason why water is not sent south is because it would break the treaty with the Mississukee tribe. The water has to be tested at a certain level of cleanliness before it can reach the reservations. As a result, water was released to the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River straight into the ocean. Cyanobacteria is a freshwater organism and when it enters salt water, it dies. The same nitrates and phosphates that were available in Lake Okeechobee are now in the ocean and available to a dinoflagellate known as red tide. Salt water does not destroy phosphates and nitrates, chemistry does not work that way.
Blue green algae is actually not an algae at all, it is a type of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. In the world of science, we are finding that cyanobacteria can even be found in the desert. Cyanobacteria is a very natural bacteria and its requirements for growth are sunlight, warmth, and nutrition when the proper amount of water is adequate. So the same could be said about human activity playing a major role in harmful algae blooms, as we are a major source of the nutrition (fertilizer and sewage runoff). Plants are natural, however when you apply fertilizer to the plant, it grows significantly. It is this same concept that you could use as a great comparison for harmful algae blooms. Like climate change, it is not started by mankind but mankind does play a major role in the unnatural growth and speed of both climate change and algae blooms. Cyanobacteria like algae, takes oxygen out of the water that is needed for the fish to breathe, and can cause death in strong blooms. Cyanobacteria also produces a deadly neurotoxin called BMAA and scientists are now linking BMAA to ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease. Places with continuous algae blooms such as Lake Erie, are showing up as “hot spots” for all three diseases. The state of Florida does not currently test for BMAA.
First of all, climate change is completely natural and it’s not started by human beings. Yet science supports that human beings are rapidly speeding it up. You could actually use coral reefs as a testimony. Coral has been around for over 550 million years, And has survived several ice ages and tropical ages. So what makes this climate change different? Why are coral reefs declining at alarming rates as we enter the next tropical age? The answer lies with us, and her inability to keep carbon dioxide below 380 ppm in the atmosphere. I believe that this is an ideal number to reach and a great goal to work towards. It’s actually an algae problem, and algae known as zoxanthele That lives inside of the coral as a symbiotic relationship not only producing its color but also 90 to 98% of the energy that it needs to survive. We are experiencing massive coral bleaching events and some have watched more then half of the third largest reef in the world, the Atlantic barrier reef die in just the last few decades. The algae is not able to adjust to rapid temperature rises and acidity levels, and when its energy production lowers, the corals believe they are under attack by disease and due to stress, they bleach to lower the likelihood of disease spreading as a natural defense in evolution. For the last 550 million years, corals have had 3 to 5 months to receive the algae back inside of them before they die forever. However in many cases the algae is not returning to the coral, and species are dying to extinction and millions of years of evolution is lost forever. Coral reefs make up less then 0.1% of the ocean, yet they are home to 25% of the species who live in the ocean. It’s safe to say that the backbone of the ocean is coral reefs, and after all, the backbone of planet earth is the ocean. It should alarm people that many scientists suggest that coral reefs could become extinct in 2050, the same year its projected that there will be more plastic in our ocean then fish. If you breath air or drink fresh water, you can give coral reefs a big thank you.
Phosphate mining is when you strip the top layers of the earth to reach phosphate rock. Companies then use chemical and physical means to separate the rock from the clay and other sediments by making a toxic slurry. For every one ton of phosphate mined, There is 5 tons of radioactive gypsum waste deemed so toxic by the EPA that the dirt cannot be moved from the site for even something as little as roadway construction. As a result, they stack the radioactive soil as gypsum stacks with a poisonous lake in the center where the clay is left to settle. Many companies solution to pollution is simply dilution, as they dilute the poison to a legal limit and send downstream. There have been cases of the acidity of this water eating away at the limestone beneath and creating what is called sinkholes. The end result is radioactive water in our drinking aquifers and not only in our streams that lead to the sea.