Lake Okeechobee News and Views

Discussion in 'Environment' started by Blue Zone, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. devrep

    devrep Well-Known Member

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    cause the last 8 years was such an improvement...
     
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  2. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

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    I agree, a leak from a coal mine could be disastrous to the St. John's River.
     

  3. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Here's a year-end, somewhat positive, note from Neverglades if you haven't seen it:

    Greetings Levis,

    On behalf of the founders of the Now or Neverglades Declaration, I want you wish each of you Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year!

    As 2016 comes to a close in our lives as Everglades and clean water warriors, we must ask ourselves - what is ahead?

    This year began with toxic, algal blooms in South Florida waters (including our coastal communities and Florida Bay) - yet ends with hope for what is to come next.

    We have found an Everglades champion in Joe Negron. In August, in front of a standing room of business leaders, environmentalists and local residents, Florida Senate President Joe Negron announced his plan to move forward with the much-needed EAA Reservoir.

    The Weather Channel recently produced a piece that backs up the facts and truth behind the Lake Okeechobee problem at ToxicLake.com, and what's at stake.

    Also this month, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress (CISRERP), a non-governmental body charged with providing Congress with independent and objective scientific information, released its sixth biennial review on the progress of Everglades restoration.

    The 2016 findings underscored declarations by more than 200 scientists that critical water storage outlined in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) is falling far behind what is needed to protect this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

    We are gambling with Florida's future. What the people of Florida want now is action. Senate President Negron's plan to buy land for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee is the key to getting restoration back on track.

    We also continue to grow our grass roots army, with close to 40,000 signatures on the #NowOrNeverglades Declaration.

    Thank you for being part of the movement. This is just the beginning, so we ask that you stay along with us for the ride, because the best is yet to come.

    We will restore America's Everglades for future generations!
    [​IMG]

    Sandy Moret
    Islamorada, Florida
     
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  4. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Good on Orvis for getting the word out with a 2 pager on the Everglades Foundation in their latest catalogue.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Well here's some good news, I think, for the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. The Lake is down over 5 feet from last year's peak to 12.21 feet ASL. I would think this will preclude the need to drain the lake anytime soon.

    Now if it would just rain like hell only South of the Lake over the summer for the Glades...
     
  6. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    I thought it best to bump this thread as the Lake O problem is getting critical. Per Sandy's post below, I stand corrected on sugar not having an effect on the Lake itself; the back-pumping from sugar is a big problem:
    [​IMG]
    A Message from Sandy Moret
    Last week, Florida DEP announced that the latest algae bloom in Lake Okeechobee has microcystin levels that are 80 times more toxic than what the World Health Organization deems to be unsafe levels. Microcystins pose a grave health hazard and are capable of making humans and animals very sick. We can only hope that water levels in the lake remain low enough that water won't need to be discharged into the estuaries, causing another environmental and human health disaster like the one we faced in 2016.

    Decades of pollution and mismanagement have led us here, and the problems in Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and the surrounding communities will only be solved if we fix the water flows (sending more water south to Florida Bay and less east and west into the estuaries) and drastically reduce the levels of contaminants in that water. The swift implementation of SB-10 remains an important step in the efforts to fix the problems that are threatening ecosystems and communities in South Florida.


    Islamorada, FL
    In The News
    [​IMG]
    Sugar's Blame Game: Deflecting Responsibility for Hyper-Toxic Algae in Lake O


    Everglades Restoration is about two related but distinct problems: (1) Broken Plumbing and (2) Pollution. For Everglades Restoration to be successful, both problems must be fixed.

    Source: Bullsugar.org

    [​IMG]
    Florida Bay Salinity Levels Down, But Concerns Remain


    Recent rainfall in South Florida has reduced salinity levels in Florida Bay amid concerns earlier this year that a drought could spark a summer sea grass die-off.

    Months of drought in 2015 contributed to hypersalinity in Florida Bay that caused a 40,000 acre sea grass die-off, according to the National Park Service.

    "The salinities are still higher than we would expect at this time of year," said Terrie Bates, director of the district's water resources division. "So the bay continues to use additional fresh water flows."

    Source: Politico

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    US Rep Brian Mast to file bill encouraging new technology to fight blue-green algae

    Called the Harmful Algal Blooms Solutions Act, the bill calls for the Secretary of Commerce to create a program to recognize and give money to people who come up with ways to:
    • remove large masses of algae
    • remove algae toxins
    • reduce nutrients that fuel algal blooms
    • provide real-time bloom-monitoring and early-warning systems
    While technology to fight blue-green algae after it develops will certainly provide many benefits, we also need to remain focused on reducing those algae blooms in the first place.

    Source: TC Palm

    [​IMG]
    These Sugar Barons Built an $8 Billion Fortune with Washington's Help


    The Fanjuls have shared so much of their money with politicians over the years that it could be that "sugar, dollar for dollar, is the most influential commodity in the U.S.," said Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and former deputy assistant secretary in the Treasury Department.

    Source: Bloomberg
     
  7. sjrobin

    sjrobin I Love microskiff.com!

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    Here comes more algae to the bays. Lake level rising.
     
  8. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Today the Lake is at 13.5'. That is about 3' below the max it had last year when all the dumping took place. Luckily, all the big recent rain had missed the Lake.
     
  9. sjrobin

    sjrobin I Love microskiff.com!

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  10. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Unfortunately, in anticipation of Irma they opened the drain on the Lake today. I understand the water is going in every direction to the Caloosahatchee, St. Lucie and even South.

    I hope they consider evacuating South Bay and Belle Glade if the storm passes by on the East causing a big surge on the South end of the Lake.
     
  11. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    The Lake has risen over 2 feet since Irma to 15.78' and continues to rise. Not good news.
     
  12. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    Update 22 September

    Edit: At 15.96' the lake is still rising. Per below, they now are back-pumping from the South canal going back into the Lake and dumping Lake water into The St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee. This is insanity unless the water in the canal going South is threatening any population and not just the sugar cane fields.

    [​IMG]
    A Message from Sandy Moret
    Mother nature intended Florida Bay and the Everglades to receive about 1/3 of its annual fresh water from tropical rains during the wet season. Well, we all know mother nature has fulfilled her mission this year through Irma at great cost and suffering to hundreds of thousands of Floridians. Our first concern is of course easing the pain for our friends impacted by this devastating event. I have been receiving hundreds of inquiries from supporters on how they can help with recovery.

    Some of the strongest advocates of Now or Neverglades have been those connected with the fishing, boating and tourism industry. They have also been some of the most severely impacted by Irma, especially in areas where their livelihoods depend on visiting tourists.

    The Herman Lucerne Memorial - a founding member of the Now or Neverglades Declaration - has started a Hurricane Irma relief fund, directing funds to help the many affected businesses and guides in the Florida Keys that have been supportive of their tournament fundraising efforts in the past. As one of the hardest hit areas and one that is heavily reliant on the tourism and fishing industry, the Florida Keys are in serious need of support now.

    For almost 40 years, the Guides Trust Foundation has provided assistance to South Florida and Keys fishing guides and their families in time of need. Florida Keys guides have been some of the most outspoken proponents of Everglades restoration. Some have lost their boats and homes and all have had their businesses affected by the storm. Both organizations have little or no administrative costs and know the players intimately to insure the funds will have the greatest impact do many individuals.

    Despite the ravages from Irma, this is no time to drop the ball on our mission of implementing SB10 which will create a dynamic water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee with filtration marshes to allow additional water to the Everglades and Florida Bay. This will also greatly relieve the devastating discharges currently destroying the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie estuaries. Three estuaries needing one common sense and scientifically agreed solution.

    Irma has reaffirmed my feeling that it's okay to cry and once again, I offer my heartfelt thanks for your support and continued commitment.

    Best,

    [​IMG]
    Islamorada, FL

    In The News

    [​IMG]
    Hurricane Irma Florida update

    The death toll in Florida has risen to 42 and will continue to rise. Carbon monoxide fumes from generators have killed 11 residents.(Miami Herald)

    Hurricane Irma is already being blamed for nearly $2 Billion in losses, an amount that will keep rising. 243,000 homeowners have filed insurance claims so far. Many Floridians are still without power, and many businesses have been damaged or destroyed, leaving many out of work. (Orlando Sentinel)

    [​IMG]
    Irma flood control: water district stops pumping water into Lake O


    The Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee Estuary Tuesday to lower the rapidly rising lake level caused by Hurricane Irma.

    Last week the corps began releasing lake water into the St. Lucie Estuary on the east side of the lake but was unable to make releases into the Caloosahatchee on the west side of the lake because of flooding in the region.

    Since the storm, the district has been pumping more water back into the lake than the corps has released into the St. Lucie estuary, corps and district officials confirmed on Monday. The district stopped pumping water back into the lake earlier this week.

    Source: Palm Beach Post

    [​IMG]
    After Irma, Slow-Moving Crisis Headed for Lake Okeechobee


    The winds and outer bands of Hurricane Irma are long gone, but as rainwater drains south through Florida's rivers and watersheds, the storm still presents a slow-moving crisis headed right for Lake Okeechobee.

    The hurricane dumped a lot of rain upstream of the lake and the increasing water level could cause problems with the aging Herbert Hoover Dike - a 143-mile earthen dam that surrounds the lake, parts of which were built in the late 1940s.

    Source: WLRN
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  13. Blue Zone

    Blue Zone I Love microskiff.com!

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    The latest from Sandy.

    Edit: Just to iterate Sandy's newsletter, on April 11 the Lake was at 12.21'. Today the level is at 17.19'. Why they would allow back-pumping into the Lake from big sugar is unconscionable.
    [​IMG]
    A Message from Sandy Moret
    Florida is still picking up the pieces after Hurricane Irma, and one grave threat is all the extra water the hurricane dropped on Lake Okeechobee, which has brought the lake to its highest levels since 2005 and continues ongoing concerns about the dike around the lake failing.

    In response, the Army Corps of Engineers is once again dumping billions of gallons of polluted, nutrient-rich water from the lake into the surrounding estuaries - just like they did last year, which resulted in toxic algae blooms that took a heavy toll on communities and ecosystems. The releases have been temporarily stopped due to concerns about flooding downstream, but they will resume again soon, sending more clouds of tainted brown water into the estuaries.

    Meanwhile, the SFWMD is still dragging its feet on producing modeling showing how much land is needed for a dynamic reservoir to help address these issues. Experts agree that the current plan doesn't provide for enough land. As we recover from this storm, we need to also think about the future. Solving the challenges around Lake O and the Everglades is an important and urgent key to managing similar weather events moving forward, as well as addressing an ongoing crisis for our South Florida communities, waterways and ecosystems. Thank you for your ongoing support.

    Best,

    [​IMG]
    Islamorada, FL

    In The News

    [​IMG]
    Lake O hits highest level since 2005, raising concerns its dike could fail

    Rainfall from Hurricane Irma has pushed the water level in Lake Okeechobee to its highest point since 2005. Now, with yet another hurricane possibly headed toward Florida, nearby residents fear a collapse of the 80-year-old dike around the lake.
    As a result, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dumping large volumes of lake water out into coastal estuaries - exactly as it did last year, when those releases caused a massive toxic algae bloom that closed Atlantic coast beaches over the Fourth of July weekend.
    Source: Tampa Bay Times

    [​IMG]
    Aerial pictures show impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges


    "It just looks like chocolate milk almost in the estuary. Those are areas that would normally be crystal clear blue water," said Deb Drum, Ecosystems Restoration Management Manager for Martin County.

    In combination with warm water and high nutrients, freshwater releases could also make way for algae blooms.

    Source: WPTV

    [​IMG]
    Without SFWMD model, reservoir plan is on track to fail


    Even as Lake O water levels rose, SFWMD Bullsugar.org

    [​IMG]
    A Catastrophe in the Everglades, and how to fix it


    Hal Herring takes a deep dive into the history of the Everglades, the problems plaguing it today, and the groups and people working to fix it.

    Source: Field and Stream
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  14. sjrobin

    sjrobin I Love microskiff.com!

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    Everyone knows that more water containment(land from private owners, sugar, etc) is needed but no one has the political will to use eminent domain and take it. To the detriment of the owners and long term health of the state of Florida. This is a perfect example where the federal government could and should step in and take charge but this administration and congress can not get anything important done at this time. Relocating 50,000 people downstream of the lake is not that difficult and in the long term less expensive and much more effective. than the current plan
     
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