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|

Make your voice heard — while there’s still time

This is a big one. On Tuesday, June 29, the South Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board will host a workshop on the proposed Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual, the new “playbook” being developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Painstaking work over the past two years by the Army Corps has produced six “finalists,” detailed proposals to manage the lake and water flow throughout the South Florida region. SFWMD board members will hear detailed presentations on each of the six plans — AA, BB, CC, DD, EE1 and EE2 — and take public comment. That’s where you come in. None of the plans are perfect. But Friends of the Everglades — along with a coalition of other environmental [...]

2021-06-24T17:08:47-04:00June 24th, 2021|Action Alerts, LOSOM|

A pivotal moment to get LOSOM right

It’s crunch time. In less than a month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will pick a tentative plan for the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual. It’s a once-in-a-decade opportunity to finally and dramatically improve the way water is managed in South Florida — and mitigate the Sunshine State’s worsening toxic algae crisis. On June 17 the “LOSOM” Project Delivery Team and members of the public, including Friends of the Everglades, examined the latest computer modeling data showing how the new system might work. From tens of thousands of computer models, Corps engineers have selected six possible alternatives: AA, BB, CC, DD, EE1 and EE2. The Army Corps’ goal is to create an equitable plan that reduces damaging discharges [...]

2021-06-17T17:02:46-04:00June 17th, 2021|All Posts, LOSOM|

“Getting LOSOM right is a test. If we pass, we may succeed at saving the Everglades.”

The following comments were made during the June 10, 2021, meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board by Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades. When our organization was founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas in 1969, the Everglades were in dire peril: An international jetport was planned for Big Cypress, threatening to irrevocably cut off the flow of water to Everglades National Park. We won that battle, working with Friends and Allies who saw long-term value in preserving the only Everglades in the world. And today, we find ourselves at another point of inflection for the Greater Everglades. It’s become clear in recent weeks that Florida is in the throes of an escalating toxic-algae crisis. [...]

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