The Real Deal Miami

South Florida disaster brims in Lake Okeechobee

This year's rains sent effluent into two estuaries, devastating marine life
September 10, 2013 10:24AM

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee is South Florida’s environmental white elephant. The fast-growing population was built on the very premise of reverse engineering spillover away from the Everglades.

During the rainy season this year, the lake reached its upper limits. Rather than test the 80-year-old earthen dike, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers let the excess water brimming with pollutants flood two estuaries, and marine life took a serious hit.

Gov. Rick Scott proposed $90 million recently towards the gargantuan task of reengineering the lake’s spillover south into the Everglades, the New York Times reported.

“Every drop of water that we can send south and keep out of the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries is a win for Florida families,” Scott said. “My message to families being impacted is that we will not give up on you.”

At least one proposal is to store more run-off south, including on private property. [NYT]Emily Schmall