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Algae Researcher Jim Sullivan Talks Blooms, Lake Okeechobee Reservoir

Courtesy Harbor Branch Oceanic Institute

Images of bright-green water caused by harmful algal blooms have taken center stage in ecological and political conversations in Florida. This week, the federal government approved more than $1.5 billion to help fund a reservoir that will take overflow from Lake Okeechobee elsewhere in an effort to mitigate the algae’s effects. Ryan Dailey recently spoke with Florida Atlantic University’s interim director of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Dr. Jim Sullivan, to talk algae and what the reservoir stands to do to help.

Questions, with timestamps:

1. This current algal bloom "season" - how does it stack up against others you've seen in the past? How would you rank its severity? 0:00-1:25

2. I'm sure you may have seen an almost $1.5 billion dollar project has been approved at the federal level to build a reservoire to deal with overflow from Lake Okeechobee. Scientifically, what is that doing? What would be beneficial about that? 1:26-3:39

3. Is this something that gets worse? Is it something that every time comes back harder, or is it not of that nature? 3:40-5:34

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.