During the next few weeks the State of Florida will start new testing of the soil and water to find the smoking gun, if any that may be attributed to a confirmed cancer cluster in Loxahatchee Florida.
In addition to running water and soil samples taking a look at a couple key native animals should also be considered.
If there is a problem with our air, water, and or soil it would show up in our native co-inhabitants. In the Columbia River Basin, a geographical area located in the upper northwest of the United States and Canada, the Osprey and River Otter have been studied to assess the health of the environment.
The Osprey, which is plentiful in the Loxahatchee area is ideal, having an average lifespan in the wild of 30 years. This raptor with its 5 to 6 foot wingspan eats fish and just about anything else that it can get his talons on, usually close to its home nesting base. Being on top of the food chain the Osprey is exposed to many contaminants throughout its diet.
The River Otter is also in abundance here and has a smaller geographic range than its winged competitor and more susceptible to suffer damage from contaminants by disrupting reproduction.
If the open space around Loxahatchee is contaminated it would appear in the native animals around us. The Osprey and the River Otter are walking, flying, swimming billboards as to the health of the area.
For more information you can click on this linked report by Palm Beach County and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Below is a summary chart of their findings from 2005.