To drain Lake O’ or not to drain Lake O’?That is the question
Excerpt: Should Lake Okeechobee, a lake half the size of Rhode Island and usually at the center of South Florida’s water woes, be kept lower?
That’s the question that rebounded Wednesday, a day after the state’s new governor said he’d asked President Donald Trump in a Jan. 4 letter to order the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers, already in the midst of a major overhaul of the lake’s operations, to keep the water level lower.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said levels should be reduced to 10.5 feet, about two feet lower than a management plan put in place in 2008 after Hurricane Katrina forced engineers to revisit aging flood control structures across the country.
But environmentalists have often warned that lowering the lake could damage its fringes, prime hunting grounds for bass fisherman and home to protected snail kites. Farmers and utilities also worry that lower winter levels could hurt water supplies. As Everglades restoration projects are completed, a lower lake might also impede efforts to send more water south to wilting marshes., according to a 2018 University of Florida report t hat looked at differing lake levels.
Bottom Line: This is the kind of stuff that makes my head hurt. Show of hands how many people want a repeat of 2018 or 2016’s algae disasters? Ok, has it been proven that if we do the same thing we’ve been doing we’ll have future problems or are we’re toying with the idea of insanity thinking next time it’ll be different? So here are your two choices while we wait out a five-year build out of the longer-term solution involving the reservoir and southern discharges.
A) Do the same thing we’ve been doing ensuring we’ll have an algae crisis again on both coasts in the near future or
B) Risk impairing bass fishing and snail kites along the edges of Lake O’?
Is this seriously a conversation? This kind of stuff is why nothing actually changes. Thankfully it appears as though Governor DeSantis is serious about making the change and is willing to take it directly to the president for resolution if needed.