Everglades Illustrated: Lake O levels and the “water shortage management band”

    It’s been a relatively dry summer. As of September 11, Lake Okeechobee stood at 12.55 feet. That’s about 2 feet lower than this time last year. Last week, the lake officially entered what’s known as the “water shortage management band” — a point where water managers can implement water restrictions if necessary and South Florida Water Management District steps in to determine release volumes from Lake O. But let’s not sound the drought alarm bells just yet. Typically the biggest concern during rainy season is that Lake O will rise too fast, threatening the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike and triggering damaging discharges to the northern estuaries — but that has not been the case this summer. [...]

2022-09-14T16:43:47-04:00September 13th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Illustrated, Lake Okeechobee, LOSOM|

6 ways to improve LOSOM in the home stretch

For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents toxic-algae crises while delivering more clean water to the southern Everglades. On Monday, we submitted formal comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, offering specific suggestions for improvements. Friends of the Everglades is working to ensure the stated operational intent for LOSOM translates into realized benefits when the new lake plan takes effect in 2023. Read our full letter, including six suggested improvements to LOSOM. As the letter states, the toxic-algae crises of 2013, 2016 and 2018 were avoidable catastrophes borne of water management decisions and nutrient pollution. LOSOM is poised to [...]

2022-09-12T18:05:30-04:00September 12th, 2022|LOSOM|

VIDEO: Corps demonstrates that transparency is the best policy in shaping LOSOM

Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples (left) and Policy Director Gil Smart (right) converse with Tim Gysan and Col. James Booth of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, during a Clean Water Conversation at the Friends of the Everglades offices in Sewall’s Point. For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents toxic-algae crises like we've seen in years prior. Today we had a chance to speak candidly with Army Corps leaders about the specifics of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that will govern the way water moves in and [...]

2022-08-18T16:52:09-04:00August 18th, 2022|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

Everglades Illustrated: Breaking down LOSOM

How will water move in and out of Lake Okeechobee over the next decade? The image above offers a glimpse of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, better known as LOSOM. Allow us to explain. The arrows pointing to the left of the chart indicate lake flows going west to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The arrows pointing to the right of the chart are going east to the St. Lucie. Zone A (above the red line) represents the highest lake stages. Under LOSOM, when the lake level jumps over 17 feet, all bets are off for the northern estuaries. Maximum releases can be sent east and west to protect the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike. These high-level discharges are [...]

2022-08-09T08:09:05-04:00August 9th, 2022|Everglades Illustrated, LOSOM|

LOSOM Update: An improvement, but not a cure-all

            An improvement, but not a cure-all For more than three years, Friends of the Everglades has advocated for a better Lake Okeechobee management plan — one that prioritizes public health and prevents the kind of toxic-algae crisis that devastated Florida in 2018 and years prior. We now have a detailed draft of the new plan, courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers. In a nutshell: The Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) will be an improvement over the existing plan — but, make no mistake, LOSOM will not be a cure-all. LOSOM will reduce, but not stop harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. It will increase flows south to the Everglades, [...]

Roll call: This is who pushed SB 2508 through

Yesterday, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee approved a proposed piece of legislation that prioritizes Florida’s sugarcane industry and is poised to have devastating effects on Florida’s water and Everglades restoration efforts. Specifically, SB 2508 touched on 3 main areas of concern: Language in this bill forces the South Florida Water Management District to maintain existing, overly generous water-supply promises in the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). This would lead to more toxic algae blooms on Florida’s east and west coasts. It would delegate some wetland “dredge and fill” permit reviews to utility companies, meaning major companies like FPL and Duke Energy could potentially evaluate their own permit applications. This would not be necessary if DEP was properly staffed [...]

2022-06-17T13:42:23-04:00February 10th, 2022|Florida Legislature, LOSOM, SB 2508|

SB 2508: “How could Florida let this happen again?”

https://youtu.be/QGThHiUGxMY "How could Florida let this happen again?" In an egregious display of disregard for our state’s waterways, the Florida Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of Senate Bill 2508 today in Tallahassee. It’s a toxic stew of bad proposals that undermine Florida’s environmental protections and protect powerful industries — most notably Big Sugar. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ben Albritton, a citrus farmer, deflected pointed criticism from environmental groups, including Friends of the Everglades, and many fishing guides who attended the hearing to object. Albritton claimed opponents had been “misled” about the true intent of the bill — but he failed to dispel our concerns. The video above of Friends of the Everglades policy director Gil Smart outlines several of [...]

Stop the LOSOM bait and switch

The Story The State of Florida is asking the Army Corps of Engineers for big changes to the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) that we do not support. Catch me up. LOSOM will determine when and where water flows from Lake Okeechobee for the next decade. During the LOSOM process, the Army Corps has indicated it would be responsible for dictating the movement of water from Lake Okeechobee when lake levels were above a “Water Shortage Management Line.” Once lake levels dropped below this line, control over lake flows would be passed to the state. Go on. Now, in a move that feels like an eleventh hour bait-and-switch, water supply interests are clamoring for greater state authority, demanding the [...]

2022-01-25T09:16:29-05:00January 25th, 2022|Action Alerts, LOSOM|

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