Originally published in The News-Press on May 12, 2021 by Adam Regan

Facing a significant threat growing toxic blue-green algae outbreak in the Lake Okeechobee system and a red tide in the Gulf of Mexico, Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped in Fort Myers.

Here, he met with Southwest Florida community stakeholders Wednesday to discuss how the state can avoid a repeat of 2018.

With the Caloosahatchee River in the background, DeSantis urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to draft a new system operating manual for the lake.

He urged them to develop it with the intent of sending water south during the dry season to create more capacity during the rainy season as he met with reporters and local leaders and business people during a news conference at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.

“There needs to be an emphasis to keep the lake at a more manageable level during the dry season so when we did have the rainy season you would not be needing to hopefully discharge any water,” DeSantis said.

Several environmental groups, including Calusa Waterkeeper, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Everglades and about a dozen others, asked DeSantis in a May 8 letter to declare a state of emergency for communities impacted by the growing toxic blue-green algae outbreak.

DeSantis said it wasn’t necessary.

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