Dr. Brian Lapointe Stresses Scientific Approach to Water Issues

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

“To secure Florida’s future, we really have to follow science; science has to lead the way.”

Dr. Brian Lapointe, Research Professor, Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Dr. Brian Lapointe is partnering with the Florida Chamber as part of its ongoing educational efforts to help secure Florida’s water future.

“I’ve been studying issues surrounding marine pollution and various land-based sources that contribute to the problems we’re seeing around the state,” said Dr. Lapointe. “This is a whole new paragon shift for me, to take what I’ve learned over 30 years and educate the public about these issues, and they’re big issues.”

Dr. Lapointe says that many of the main sources of pollution are not realized by the public. For example, Dr. Lapointe identifies septic tanks as being a major source of pollution in Florida that people do not recognize as harmful.

“We have so many opinions around the state as to the various factors that may be causing things like the brown tide in the Indian River Lagoon, or the problems were seeing in the St. Lucie estuary or Florida Bay,” said Dr. Lapointe. “But, it really comes back to not using political or expedient solutions to these problems, which can often times make the problems worse. It is really looking at cause and effect and we really need to use the best science available to find out the causes of these problems.”

The campaign to educate Floridians on Florida water resources and issues, led by the Florida Chamber, FAU Harbor Branch, and Dr. Lapointe, places importance on finding a science-based set of solutions to water quality issues.

“A big issue for Florida is protecting the quality of our water because we have very sensitive resources here that are the attraction for tourists,” said Dr. Lapointe. “The Indian River lagoon… this is a place, clearly, that is being impacted by pollution from the water shed that, obviously, we need to get that system in recovery and use science to do it to protect the economic well being of that region.”

Economies across the state rely on water, an abundant resource in Florida. As Dr. Lapointe mentions, water issues affect these areas economically and scientific steps need to be taken to prevent and counteract this side-effect of water pollution.

 “These things are all doable if we use science to lead the way,” said Dr. Lapointe.