Lake Okeechobee

rushing water
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

 

South Florida was largely spared from the flooding and extra rain brought by the arrival of Tropical Storm Colin. Yet, as storm season rolls in, Lake Okeechobee’s levels – and subsequently connected waterways – are high. Where is all of that water going?

"Ultimately, the water can only go so many places,” says John Campbell, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps is in charge of managing the largest lake in Florida, Lake Okeechobee, and a major part of flood prevention in the state.

Amy Green

 The problem in the southern Indian River Lagoon is Lake Okeechobee.

An abundance of polluted water from the state’s largest lake is turning the lagoon’s normally aquamarine water brown and murky and endangering oysters, seagrass and other marine life.

The Lake Okeechobee water spreads across the Indian River Lagoon like a shadow. From the sky the boundary between dark and aquamarine is clear.

Chuck Mitchell stands on his dock as the water rushes past. He is angry.

“Ever have to flush your toilet twice? It looks like the first time. It’s that bad.”

Dale/flickr

The Florida Roundup looks at the death penalty, heavy rains, fracking and more this week.

The Florida Supreme Court stopped one execution as questions continue around the process of how Florida decides the death penalty. Dozens of inmates on death row could challenge their sentences.

South Florida is being drenched by historic rains in the midst of what is supposed to be the dry season. Lake Okeechobee is swollen, sending dirty water into rivers and raising worries about pollution.

Lake Okeechobee Swells With So Much Rain

Jan 5, 2016
Creative Commons via Flickr
Dale (https://flic.kr/p/fML4tK)

It will come as no surprise to anyone with a window that it has been raining a lot more than usual this time of year in South Florida. That has a lot to do with El Nino, which has affected weather patterns across the globe.

The result is lots of rainwater in Lake Okeechobee,  where water levels have been higher than usual. In response, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been draining a larger than normal volume of water from the lake, where the water level usually falls naturally during the dry season, which runs November through May.

The reason this matters is twofold.

Lisann Ramos

Last November Florida voters passed an amendment that allocated billions in state funds in the course of 20 years for land conservation.

Now environmental groups are urging Florida lawmakers to buy a huge swath of land from U.S. Sugar for Everglades conservation. The plan would store and clean excess water from the lake on the purchased land that would eventually flow down to Everglades National Park.

Legislators Approve $2.8M Quck Fix For South Florida Waterways

Sep 13, 2013
wikipedia.org

A short-term benefit package will flow toward South Florida following approval Thursday of the plan to improve the health of waterways harmed by releases from Lake Okeechobee.

The $2.77 million allocation approved by the Legislative Budget Commission is to improve pump stations, reducing the flow of polluted waters that have negatively affected the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers.  The money will also go to a build a channel to aid the flow of water from the Florida Everglades across the barrier of the Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County.

Justin Smiley/flickr.com

When it comes to clean energy projects like wind farms, where people stand on a proposal sometimes depends on where they sit. Take the case of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, certainly a champion of green causes — until someone proposed building a wind farm off Cape Cod, where the liberal lion liked to do his sailing.

He fought the wind farm until he died.

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