Environmental Monitor

From February 2015 to November 2015 I was a freelance science writing intern for Fondriest Environmental's magazine Environmental Monitor, which covers technological advancements in monitoring systems for air and water quality in oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. Here you will find my entire collection of short briefs and longer form features written for the magazine. 

Data Show Florida Beach Bacteria Levels Vary By Location

By Cassie Kelly, September 2, 2015

A program known as the Florida Healthy Beaches Program has been monitoring the water quality of various beaches of 34 coastal communities across the state for the past 15 years. The program, which operates on nearly $500,000 in federal funds for monitoring, has found that the quality of the beach seems to depend on its location.

Samples of bacteria, especially enterococci, are taken weekly at beaches and are then recorded. The data since 2000 have shown that beaches in Wakulla, Okaloosa, Franklin and Pasco all have very high advisory protocols, often warning beachgoers that it is not safe to swim.

Enterococci is a bacteria that forms naturally in the intestine, but when consumed, it can cause illness. Large amounts of it on any beach, indicate that there is a problem with waste, whether it be from animals, humans, or runoff from roads. The main drivers of such bacteria are lacks of water flow, breaks in sewage lines and runoff.

Read the original article in Environmental Monitor, here.