Letter to the Army Corps: Keep LOSOM fair and balanced

On January 21, 2022 we submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of Friends of the Everglades, Calusa Waterkeeper, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Florida Oceanographic Society, and Conservancy of Southwest Florida articulating concerns regarding the South Florida Water Management District's proposal to create a 1.5 foot buffer zone in the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). During the LOSOM process, the Army Corps of Engineers 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, management deference would be passed to the state. Now, in a move that feels like an eleventh hour bait-and-switch, [...]

2022-01-21T17:03:40-05:00January 21st, 2022|Friends of the Everglades Statements, LOSOM|

LOSOM: Who foots the bill for water supply’s insurance in Lake Okeechobee?

JUMP TO: Friends of the Everglades LOSOM Reaction As the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual process enters the next phase of development, the fight is less about how the plan is written — but whose finger is on the trigger. That was laid bare today, during the Army Corps of Engineers’ latest meeting on the lake plan. In recent weeks advocates for “water supply” — many of them sympathetic to Big Sugar and other agricultural interests south of Lake Okeechobee — have insisted the state of Florida, rather than the Army Corps of Engineers, must have the ultimate say in how the system is operated when the water in the lake drops near the “water shortage management band.” When the [...]

2022-01-12T17:19:08-05:00January 12th, 2022|LOSOM|

LOSOM: Better for the St. Lucie, but key questions remain

It’s not all we hoped for. But ultimately, it’s better than what we have now. On Tuesday the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its pick for the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual; the new playbook will guide lake management for a decade to come. Model 260467 would discharge an average of 117,000 acre-feet of water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie estuary every year. The good news is that’s 37% less than what might have been discharged had the Corps taken no action and continued to utilize the existing lake schedule. The bad news? It’s a 63% increase over the 72,000 acre-feet per year originally proposed in the Corps’ “preferred alternative,” Plan CC. After selecting Plan CC in [...]

2021-11-17T10:40:29-05:00November 17th, 2021|LOSOM|

Everglades Illustrated: LOSOM must protect the estuaries

The Everglades is vast, and restoration is complex. We're breaking it down visually for you. Are Throwback Tuesdays a thing? We’re making them one today, as we take a look back at an image from 2016. The photo above was taken in a neighborhood canal off of the St. Lucie River during a time that is infamously remembered as the toxic summer of 2016. That summer, images like this one were not uncommon in the coastal community of Stuart, Florida — the east coast ground zero for Lake Okeechobee discharges. For those who lived through it, this picture brings to mind a particularly horrific smell. The guacamole-thick mats of blue-green algae emitted a stench so overwhelming that residents had trouble being outdoors. [...]

2021-11-09T12:25:55-05:00November 9th, 2021|Everglades Illustrated, LOSOM|

No near-term decision is more important to the future of Florida’s water than LOSOM

The following comments were made by Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples during the October 28, 2021 LOSOM listening session hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers is nearing the end of a more than two-year effort to develop the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), a new plan that will dictate when and where water moves for the next decade. The LOSOM process began in the aftermath of the toxic-algae crises that plagued the northern estuaries in 2013, 2016 and 2018, posing a threat to public health. Reducing harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges that trigger such algae blooms has been a top priority for Floridians in LOSOM. It must remain a top priority [...]

2021-10-28T18:10:34-04:00October 28th, 2021|All Posts, LOSOM|

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|


Go to Top