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Florida's Blue-Green Algae Task Force Bill To Save Seagrass, Manatees, Moves Through Senate

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiamiNSF) -- A plan to carry out recommendations from the state's Blue-Green Algae Task Force started to move forward Monday in the Senate.

The Environment and Natural Resources Committee backed a proposal (SB 832) by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, to implement some of the recommendations from the task force, which was created by Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2019 to address water-quality problems.

"I do hope this helps us with our manatee situation," said Stewart, referring to the record 1,101 manatees that died in Florida waters last year, in large part because poor water quality depleted seagrasses that are the animal's primary food source.

An identical bill did not get through legislative committees during the 2021 session.

The bill, in part, would direct the Department of Environmental Protection to oversee an inspection program for onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems and to adopt rules that include a county-by-county implementation plan phased in over 10 years.

Priority would be given to areas that include natural springs.

The bill is filed for the legislative session that starts Tuesday.

(©2022 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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