Lake Okeechobee

Miami Herald archives

South Florida water managers dove into Everglades restoration in back to back meetings this week.

Amy Green / WMFE

President Donald Trump is visiting Lake Okeechobee on Friday. The trip to the troubled lake comes as top Republican leaders in the state say the president’s proposed spending on Everglades restoration is not enough.

Lake Okeechobee is among the state’s most significant natural resources, and there’s debate after last year’s toxic algae over just how much water the lake should hold.

Paul Gray steps into ankle-deep water lapping the sandy beach on Lake Okeechobee’s north shore. But he says the beach shouldn’t be here. It should be grassy marsh.

Frankel - AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Diaz-Balart - AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Lake Okeechobee may be a natural feature of the Florida landscape, but politics also come into play when it comes to it.

 

More than $1 billion of federal support has been spent to help restore the Everglades and fix the plumbing around the lake. That money, along with other money for the Army Corps of Engineers, starts flowing from the House Appropriations Committee.

Andrew Quintana / WLRN

With clear skies and breezy winds, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) revealed its newest invention Tuesday at Pahokee Marina, in the southern half of Lake Okeechobee: a solar powered sailboat that will monitor and test for harmful algal blooms.

The Nav2 is the first autonomous vessel to be used for in-land algae monitoring. It’s the brainchild of FAU and the company Navocean. The two had an early version of the vessel monitor red tide on the west coast of Florida in December 2017 before making the official launch in Lake Okeechobee.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images via Sun Sentinel

Building the reservoir to cut Lake Okeechobee discharges is now federal law.

President Donald Trump signed the federal Water Resources Development Act Tuesday. WRDA includes a nationwide list of water projects that included the reservoir south of the lake.

The law authorizes but doesn't allocate money for the feds to pay their half of the $1.6 billion Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir.

The appropriation process could take a couple of years to get money rolling.

Kate Stein / WLRN

A project intended to help address blue-green algae outbreaks took a major step forward Wednesday as the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes a proposal for an Everglades water storage reservoir.

Senators approved the bill, which includes many other water-related projects nationwide, by a margin of 99-1.

TOM JAMES - WWW.PELICANMEDIA.TV

Florida is waiting on Congress to authorize two efforts that could help address algal blooms plaguing the state's coastal and inland waterways.

Sam Turken / WLRN

Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday he plans to protect the environment if elected, including restoring the Everglades and ending algae blooms near Lake Okeechobee.

But he refused to explicitly state whether he believes in climate change. 

The former U.S. Rep. toured the Everglades in Broward County on an airboat to learn more about efforts to improve water flow through the National Park.

Adam Weinstein/FTL algae
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Toxic blue-green algae blooms have officially come to Fort Lauderdale.

The green, foul-smelling goop has been sighted in Intracoastal canals, near Annie Beck Park, and the Las Olas Isles neighborhood.  

Adam Weinstein lives on the 15th street canal, and noticed the green floating patches near the dock behind his house two weeks ago.

Amy Green / WMFE

As Florida struggles with 'red tide' algae blooms on the west coast and blue-green algae in inland waterways, a federal program to help communities deal with harmful algae outbreaks is set to lose its Congressional authorization at the end of September.

There’s a new study into the resilience of Lake Okeechobee’s toxic algae as it flows from the fresh water lake into the brackish estuaries.

Pedro Portal, Miami Herald

Toxic algae is an increasing problem in Florida, whether it’s red tide on the state’s west coast, or from releases from Lake Okeechobee. Jill Roberts, from sister station WQCS in Fort Pierce, tells us about a statewide event to focus attention on the toxic water. Hands Along the Water will remind politicians that toxic algae is an important issue to the state's voters. 

Andrew West / News-Press

When Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens, who is a well-regarded expert on water and has studied pollution all over the world, began hearing about a deepening algae bloom in his own backyard in Lake Okeechobee this summer, he struggled to find information that could tell him what was going on.

State scientists sample water in the lake, but too infrequently to track rapidly evolving algae blooms. Instead, Havens had to rely on satellite images that were taken on sunny days when clouds don’t get in the way.

Scott Calls For Action On Red Tide Amid Political Clamor

Aug 6, 2018

Political broadsides continue over who is to blame for ongoing water-quality problems across South Florida, as Gov. Rick Scott on Friday ordered more action to address red tide in coastal communities. 

WMFE

Toxic algae again is blooming in Florida waterways.

The algae began in Lake Okeechobee and is spreading after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initiated flows to the adjoining Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

WMFE environmental reporter Amy Green explains some of the water management decisions behind this toxic alga in a conversation with WMMO's host Shawn Burke. 

Burke: Amy, how much algae are we talking about?

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