Lake Okeechobee Algae Bloom Reservicing

Lake Okeechobee Algae Bloom Reservicing

With your Southeast Regional Ag Report, I'm Trevor Williams.

As first reported from the Miami Herald, Algae Blooms in Lake Okeechobee are once again threatening local communities as engineers and local Florida governments are fighting to control the algae outbreak.

The algae blooms are caused by increasing water temperatures in bodies of water with high nutrient levels. Some experts say pollution into Lake Okeechobee is from fertilizer runoff from local farms, while others say it is also from local communities. Like the red algae blooms Florida saw in 2018, high rainfall leads to discharge from Lake Okeechobee, which release the blooms to rivers and streams and eventually the Gulf of Mexcio. A large portion of the watershed of Lake Okeechobee leads to the Florida Everglades.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers currently manages lake waters but has to consider a multitude of options for reducing the blooms. They have to consider the need to send water south for Everglades restoration and the guarantee of sufficient supplies for farming while also managing flood protection structures such multiple dike around the lake.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been under pressure to issue emergency orders for the situation but has issued statements backing up the Army Corps of Engineers handling the crisis.

The water fight in Southern Florida has been going on for decades at this point with multiple projects being started addressing the aging dikes around the lake as well as reducing fertilizer runoff. One thing is for certain, all parties need to reduce their environmental footprint if both Lake Okeechobee and the Florida Everglades are going to remain healthy.

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