Tell the Army Corps: Any toxic algae is too much toxic algae.

Lake Okeechobee cyanobacteria bloom 8-30-21. Photo by Ralph Arwood. First shared on Facebook by the Calusa Waterkeeper. Last week the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave us some “homework.” At the end of an Aug. 25 meeting on the proposed new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual — LOSOM — the Corps asked participants to think about how much blue-green algae is too much. Specifically, the Corps asked what “indicators” might signify that poor water quality or algae blooms on Lake Okeechobee are “significant enough” to allow water managers to consider taking action? And if so, what should water managers do to reduce the risk to public health and the environment? The answers should be obvious to anyone who [...]

2021-08-31T10:32:11-04:00August 31st, 2021|LOSOM|

Everglades Illustrated: The northern estuaries are stronger together

See the three southern outlets from Lake Okeechobee circled in red? Each of them represents an opportunity to remove harm from the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. This week the Army Corps of Engineers announced its goals for improving the foundation of a new plan that will govern releases from Lake Okeechobee for the next decade, called LOSOM. The “optimization” goals presented were the result of thousands of public comments submitted to the Corps by stakeholders across the state — including Friends of the Everglades supporters. The Corps aims to strike more regional balance throughout a system that has long catered to the powerful agricultural industry south of Lake Okeechobee. Though we viewed the foundational plan selected as an encouraging [...]

2021-08-10T12:06:18-04:00August 10th, 2021|Everglades Illustrated, LOSOM|

United we stand for a better Lake O plan

More than 1,100 Friends of the Everglades like you sent messages to the Army Corps of Engineers in recent weeks, asking for specific improvements to the new Lake Okeechobee plan that’s being developed. Today, we saw where the Army Corps took our advice, and where we still have work to do. During a virtual meeting, Corps officials unveiled new details of the preferred alternative for the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, or LOSOM — the “playbook” for managing the lake in the decade to come. Col. Andrew Kelly, who is leading the effort, articulated goals for how the plan, previously known as “Alternative CC,” will be optimized and deliver benefits to all stakeholders. Friends of the Everglades previously made [...]

2021-08-09T16:29:01-04:00August 9th, 2021|LOSOM|

Relief on the horizon?

Is relief from harmful discharges and toxic blue-green algae finally in sight for the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries? In meetings around the state this week, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials heard praise and criticism of Plan “CC,” the proposal chosen as the framework for the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). Plan CC could cut discharges to the St. Lucie by 60 percent, and send more water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay. But it needs work. It must do more to protect the Caloosahatchee and send more dry-season flows to the Everglades and Florida Bay. And you can email the Corps today asking for modifications that prioritize public health and environmental protection across the Greater [...]

2021-07-30T10:01:52-04:00July 30th, 2021|LOSOM|

VIDEO: The Army Corps must make LOSOM a system-wide win

"Cautiously optimistic." That's the way we're feeling as the process to write a new Lake Okeechobee management plan, known as LOSOM, continues into the optimization stage with Plan CC as the foundation. During today's Clean Water Conversation you heard from experts on the east and west coast as they tackled details about the differences in the impacted coastal ecosystems and the necessary modifications it will take to make sure the new LOSOM is a win for everyone. We'd like to extend a big thanks to Mark Perry of Florida Oceanographic Society and James Evans of Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation for sharing their knowledge and insight with us. If you missed the conversation today, you can find the full recording here. And if you [...]

2021-07-29T17:36:09-04:00July 29th, 2021|All Posts, Clean Water Conversations, LOSOM|

Help us make public health a priority for LOSOM Alternative CC

Your voices helped us secure Plan CC as the foundation of the new Lake Okeechobee playbook. As the most balanced plan proposed, it was the right choice, offering us the greatest opportunity to protect communities from toxic algae events in the future. But we know there’s work to be done to make it a real system-wide win. As we enter the next stage of "optimization," we need your help again to make sure it's modified to benefit all of the impacted stakeholders. We've made it easy. By clicking the button below, you can send a pre-formatted letter to the Army Corps calling for specific modifications to LOSOM Plan CC that will help to provide true balance and protect our waters from future harm.

2021-07-27T08:03:52-04:00July 27th, 2021|Action Alerts, LOSOM|

Army Corps’ choice of Plan CC for Lake O presents opportunity for relief from toxic discharges

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers heard our voice — and yours. Now the hard work really begins. After more than two years of meetings, modeling, debates and advocacy, the Corps whittled down the list of potential new “playbooks” to manage Lake Okeechobee to just six: Plans AA, BB, CC, DD, EE1 and EE2. On July 19, the Corps announced CC was its preliminary preferred plan. It was the right choice. Friends of the Everglades and our supporters have for weeks urged the Corps to select an enhanced version of CC, the most balanced overall proposal. It sends more water to the parched Everglades and Florida Bay. It slashes discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary, and outpaced the other five [...]

2021-07-19T15:06:45-04:00July 19th, 2021|LOSOM|

Plan CC makes LOSOM a win for this entire region

The following comments were made during the July 15, 2021, meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board by Gil Smart, policy director of Friends of the Everglades. Good morning, my name is Gil Smart and I’m Policy Director for Friends of the Everglades, founded in 1969 by Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Today we first wish to first thank the governing board members and everyone at the water management district who have been neck deep in the LOSOM process. The selection of the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual will have a huge impact on the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, Lake Worth Lagoon, the southern Everglades and Florida Bay — all of which have suffered under the current [...]

2021-07-16T10:31:01-04:00July 16th, 2021|All Posts, LOSOM|

Time to step it up on the Lake Okeechobee playbook

With just a week to go before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tentatively selects its new Lake Okeechobee “playbook,” today’s meeting was crucial. Dozens of stakeholders — “project delivery team” members, federal and state agencies, local governments and members of the public — had a chance to weigh in and endorse one of six prospective plans. It was a crucial opportunity to help shape water policy in Florida for the next decade, and many seized the chance. But others ignored it — and a few seemed utterly unprepared. LOSOM, as the playbook is known, will impact the future of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, the Lake Worth Lagoon, the Everglades and Florida Bay, and could be one of [...]

2021-07-13T11:52:14-04:00July 12th, 2021|LOSOM|

Tell the Army Corps the new Lake O plan must protect Florida’s health and environment

The new Lake O plan must protect Florida's health and environment. We’ve got more work to do. That became clear this week during two important meetings about the new Lake Okeechobee plan that the Army Corps of Engineers is developing. The Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), as it is known, will determine when and where water is moved from the 730-square-mile lake in the decade to come. LOSOM will have a huge impact on the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, Lake Worth Lagoon, the southern Everglades and Florida Bay — all of which have suffered under the current Lake O plan, which prioritizes sugarcane irrigation over the environment and public health. The Army Corps has whittled its choices down [...]

2021-06-30T17:01:45-04:00June 30th, 2021|Action Alerts, LOSOM|

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