Reefs at Risk.
Ron.Hill at noaa.gov
Tue Jun 30 09:08:33 EDT 1998
Subject: Reefs at Risk.
Author: BPrecht at kennesaw.Lawco.com
Date: 6/29/98 7:07 PM
Although this in itself is very disturbing, trying to blame Florida's coral reef
woes on the sugar industry or primitive septic systems in the Keys is out of
place and off target.
Now turning to the reefs of southern Belize...where they will founder and drown
in the face of deleterious water quality. Without holistic management of the
Maya Mountain watershed the effects on reefs from the southern Belize lagoon
will be devastating.
...We must be able to tease out those things that can be managed with those that
can not... and finally WE MUST STOP POINTING OUR COLLECTIVE FINGERS AT POSSIBLE
CAUSES UNTIL WE ARE SCIENTIFICALLY SURE THERE IS A LINK TO THE SYMPTOM. Citing
decreasing water quality as the main issue is a cop out. Plaudits to Thad
Murdoch for an interesting review of his Keys Wide data.
***Question: Why is it acceptable to point fingers at one cause of water
degradation far from our Florida Keys, i.e., deforestation in the Mayan
hinterland, but not acceptable to point fingers at a source of decreased water
quality affecting reefs much closer to home, i.e., the sugar industry that
operates on deforested lands upstream from the Keys?
While decreasing water quality may not be the only cause for reef degradation it
is certainly one of the major contributing factors that is manifested in a
variety of ways (over-nutrification, sedimentation, transport of
pollutants/pathogens, etc.) and comes from a wide variety of sources. All
potential sources of degradation should be examined and addressed. Water
quality problems are a source of degradation that can be improved if we are
willing to do the right things.
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