Episode 12:  KC Schulberg Notes

 
 

Today we talk with KC Schulberg- Collier County Waterkeeper. In 2017, KC stepped out of the film business and got involved in the environment! He was named Collier County Waterkeeper in October, 2021 after serving 3 years as Executive Director of the Calusa Waterkeeper in Lee County.

  • What is a Waterkeeper Alliance?

    • The Waterkeeper Alliance was founded in 1996 in the Hudson River area by fisherman who wanted to reclaim the river, as it was terribly polluted. 

    • Overtime, it has become a national and global network 

    • Today, it’s the largest and fastest growing clean water nonprofit in the world

      • 340 chapters on 16 continents

    • The Waterkeeper is responsible for restoring and cleaning the water in their respective watershed

  • Water is so essential in general for mankind, but especially in florida as it’s so important to our way of life. We owe it to ourselves to preserve it as best we can!

  • The water quality is degrading in Florida

    • Nutrient pollution

    • Fecal indicator bacteria

    • 3600 water bodies that are impaired in the State of Florida, declared by the Department of Environmental Protection

    • This is due to 2 things:

      • Population growth (stresses the infrastructure)

      • Climate change (warming the water)

  • What are the (5) priorities of your organization right now?

    • Climate change

      • Awareness-building is essential

    • Wetland restoration and preservation

      • “Lungs of our ecosystem”

    • Harmful algae blooms

      • Red tide and blue green algae

      • Red tide and blue-green algae toxins have an indisputable linkage to neurodegenerative diseases

        • ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s

        • These toxins are aerosolized and can travel 10 miles in the air

    • Storm water runoff

      • Impervious surfaces

    • Reef restoration and ocean preservation

  • What could we do now in our regular lives to help the situation?

    • The quality of our water and climate change are interlinked, some things we cannot change

    • What types of things can we do?

      • AVOID PLASTIC!

      • Florida-friendly planting

      • Try not to fertilize

      • Irrigate in the morning or evening, not during the day

      • Consider mulch or pavers instead of concrete

      • 6-10 foot setback from the water where you don’t fertilize or plant grass

        • “Toilet flush”—pollutants on the land are flushed by the heavy rains in the summer leading to a spike in the nutrients in the water

      • Plant trees

      • Composting

      • Get off industrial meat (at least 1x/week)

      • Take a cloth bag to the supermarket

        • Buy a recycle bag or use paper bags

  • Pollutants are called “nutrients”

    • Most commonly nitrogen or phosphate

    • i.e. fertilizer

  • Could you give us a picture of what we might look like 10-20 years from now?

    • It’s going to get worse before it gets better, if it gets better

    • We are at 1.1-1.2 degrees C over pre-industrial levels

      • We are trying to limit it to 1.5 degrees, at which point we see catastrophic cascade of things happening

    • Even if we go to Net Zero today (carbon neutral, aim is to achieve by 2050), there are trends which are underway which cannot be stopped

      • Within the next 8 years in Collier County- will see more nuisance flooding

      • Within 20 years, you may see 1-1.5 feet of sea level rise 

      • By the end of the century, we will be underwater

  • If we all made individual changes, is this enough?

    • No- it would be incremental changes; we need changes on a worldwide governmental level

    • So how can we do this?

      • We are in awareness-building phase

      • More groups in town becoming engaged and involved in environmental care

  • What does carbon neutral mean?

    • Everybody has a carbon footprint

    • Goal is to neutralize your carbon footprint (i.e. solar panels, electric cars, etc.)

      • Same with companies/corporations!

  • Is there any message you want to leave our listeners with?

    • Become a happy warrior; get involved in some clean water movement!

  • Events to attend:

    • “Save our Planet” Earth Day Jamboree- April 23, 2022 at Cambier Park

    • April 12th- conference on Wetlands and Climate Change with Dr. Bill Mitsch

  • How to reach the WaterKeeper?