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Peace River

Our Mission

Protect Our Precious Water

Our Waterkeeper serves to preserve and protect water quality and ecological integrity in the watersheds and estuaries of the Peace and Myakka Rivers of Florida.



Mosaic’s fertilizer operations are a prolific source of many toxic pollutants. Please note that I use the word “toxic” literally, in its regulatory sense. The materials I am going to discuss are listed on the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).


Mosaic’s New Wales and Bartow operations normally discharge into the Peace River through a number of NPDES-permitted discharge outfalls. New Wales (partially), Bartow (partially) and Riverview (entirely) also discharge into the Alafia River and ultimately Tampa Bay. Both Rivers are important drinking water sources: the Alafia for Tampa and Hillsborough County, the Peace intermittently for Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, including several major population centers

Phosphogypsum Stacks


With Suncoast Waterkeeper, Mele assembled the coalition that successfully mobilized the citizens of Desoto County to demand that their County Commissioners reject Mosaic’s request for a rezone of some 24,000 acres from Agriculture to Mining/Industrial. That was the first time Mosaic had been stopped cold in its southward march.


“The Peace River and Charlotte Harbor are the receiving waters for more than half of Mosaic’s toxic effluent,” said Mele, “and there are billions of gallons of deeply contaminated process wasted behind crude earthwork dame up there. The citizens of Charlotte and Desoto Counties are at risk every day.”

Map of Jurisdictions


Peace + Myakka Waterkeeper Andy Mele has a MS in environmental science and authored the book, Polluting For Pleasure, (W.W. Norton, 1993) which revealed staggering amounts of oil and gasoline pollution nationwide -- from 2-cycle outboard motors. The publishing of this book lead directly to new EPA rules that have effectively made 2-strokes extinct. 


In the Hudson Valley, he tackled the infamous PCB spill deposited by General Electric, and his work forced both EPA and GE to the table to negotiate a Consent Decree. The PCBs have since been dredged out of that storied river.

Now he aims to build on these massive environmental wins by taking on Mosaic and other toxic polluters that put our water at risk.

Red Tide Dolphin


Piney Point is a small mountain of waste phosphogypsum called a “gypstack,” with earthwork berm-retained lakes on top for settling out the waste phosphogypsum, and recycling the acidic process fluids used in fertilizer manufacturing. The current spill is just the latest in a string  of disasters and near-disasters associated with Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry. The barely-controlled discharge of more than 200 million gallons has, by credible estimates, inserted 150 metric tons of nitrogen, the region’s most powerful nutrient pollutant, into the Tampa Bay ecosystem.  

Peace River


If this work sounds like something you support, please consider joining us.  


One of the best things about being part of the Waterkeeper Alliance is that we will go to court to stop polluters.  By becoming a member, you are able to participate directly in environmental action by contributing “standing” to a court filing on behalf of Peace+Myakka Waterkeeper.  

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