Judge Orders Engineers Study Lake O Water Release Effects on Algal Blooms and Endangered Species

by | Oct 29, 2020 | Press

Originally published by WINK News on October 29, 2020

Lake Okeechobee is going under the microscope to protect Florida’s endangered species and its habitat from toxic algae.

A judge ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the impact water releases could have on manatees and other creatures.

Engineers must study the effects of lake operations on harmful algal blooms and the impact those blooms, such as blue-green algae and red tide, have on waterways such as the Caloosahatchee River and the endangered species living in and along them.

In 2018, the harmful algal blooms in Southwest Florida took a toll on the wildlife many love to see.

“The beaches were just littered with tons and tons of dead sea life as a result of the red tide effect,” said John Cassani, the director of Calusa Waterkeeper. “And what synergized that was we had a blue-green algae bloom at the very same time.”

That’s why a judge asked water advocacy groups to come up with a proposal for the Army Corps to address harmful discharges from Lake O.

“I think that this is a long time coming,” said Jaclyn Lopez, the Florida director for Center for Biological Diversity. “People living in this area have observed the harm.”

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