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 Everglades ecosystem.
On July 27 Friends of the Everglades and east coast stakeholders met with Corps officials, urging them to send as much water south as possible.
We want the Corps to have the flexibility to keep the flood gates closed when toxic algal blooms are present.
And while we agree a “balanced” plan is necessary, we are pushing the Army Corps to put public health at the top of its priority list by doing everything possible to reduce harmful Lake O releases to the northern estuaries.
Other stakeholders have other priorities. Big Sugar and other agricultural interests want to keep the lake higher in the dry season to ensure enough water to irrigate the fields — which could mean more algae and more discharges to the northern estuaries during the wet months.
Time is running short; the Corps has until Aug. 4 to determine how it will seek to “optimize” Plan CC. Will you join us in asking the Corps to provide long-needed relief to the beleaguered St. Lucie, Caloosahatchee and Florida’s iconic Everglades?