By: Tyler Treadway, Treasure Coast Newspapers
Members of Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis' transition team on the environment and agriculture agreed Monday the state's ecological problems are based on dirty water.
"Water is the lifeblood of our environment and the lifeblood of our economy," said U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Palm City Republican and head of the advisory panel. "In my opinion, this is the most important conversation we can be having."
For DeSantis, Mast said, "water is a priority; protecting our natural resources is a priority. ... It's all about nutrient-loading, nutrient-loading, nutrient-loading and how we get nutrients out of our water. The bottom line: If we don't want our kids in a bathtub with it, we don't want it in our water."
The panel met by teleconference and allowed comments from the public.
After a passionate caller from Charlotte County said the combination of toxic blue-green algae and red tide was causing "an ecological disaster" in the state, Mast said protecting the environment and water is "a non-negotiable priority for our next governor."
Members of the panel also called for more public-private partnerships both to help clean the state's water, such as the Caulkins Water Farm in western Martin County, which the state pays to keep polluted farmland runoff out of the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon…