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.
Now, in a move that feels like an eleventh hour bait-and-switch, water supply interests are clamoring for greater state authority, demanding the Corps defer to state water managers when Lake Okeechobee levels are within 1.5 feet above the Water Shortage Management Line. This 1.5 foot “buffer” would, for all intents and purposes, create a new operational zone and would almost certainly result in more water being held in the lake than is necessary, which in turn could contribute to higher, ecologically damaging lake levels — and a greater chance of toxic algae discharges to the northern estuaries.
Last week, we submitted a letter to the Corps on behalf of Friends of the Everglades, Calusa Waterkeeper, Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, Florida Oceanographic Society, and Conservancy of Southwest Florida articulating opposition to the South Florida Water Management District’s proposal to create the 1.5 foot buffer zone. You can join us by sending one of your own. Use the button below to send a pre-formatted email to help us make sure that the LOSOM process stays fair and balanced for as many stakeholders as possible.