Florida Bay must fight for every drop of freshwater it receives from Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades. Standing in the way is the sugar industry, which has treated that water as if it belonged to them.
Everglades restoration is all about changing this broken dynamic.
It requires massive projects to be built, some of which are now online or in the works, and better and fairer management of who and what gets clean freshwater.
Today, less than one-third of the freshwater the Bay needs to survive can get to it.
For the past three years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been reworking the rules for how water in Lake O is managed – the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). Stakeholders who in the past had been shut out of the process have had a major say in the new plan.
Bottom line, the latest model we’ve seen looks significantly better than the current operational plan that has plagued our coastal estuaries with toxic and polluted discharges from Lake O and starved the Everglades and Florida Bay for decades.
The Army Corps is continuing to take input from the public, so you still have a chance to weigh in.
Email LakeOComments@usace.army.mil with your comments by Monday, September 12, 2022.
Is Lake Okeechobee a reservoir or a lake? It’s a serious question.
For decades, Lake O has been treated by laws and rules as a general impoundment of water, serving at the pleasure of Big Sugar. Little to no regard has been given to everything and everyone else who depends on it.
It’s not a reservoir, of course. It is a lake that is supposed to provide benefit to all of us.
Without the sufficient freshwater from the lake, we will lose the Everglades and with it, the source of drinking water for South Florida. Without correction, the unnatural discharges of trillions of gallons of polluted, toxic water will continue to be heaved onto both coasts of Florida.
For decades, sugar’s lawyers and lobbyists have written the rules to benefit their taxpayer subsidized industry that contributes very little to our state’s economy or employment base but has taken so much from the taxpayers and one of the most important ecosystems on the globe. Floridians are living with the consequences.
Make your voice heard.
Sending a simple message to the Commander at the Army Corps of Engineers in charge of Lake O’s management, Colonel James Booth, will go a long way in ensuring fairness is brought into the equation before he finalizes a new operating schedule that will be in place for the next decade.
The Everglades and Florida Bay have suffered too much for too long. Their survival, along with our drinking water supply, hang in the balance. Let the Army Corps hear from you.
Send the email right now, while you’re thinking about it, to LakeOComments@usace.army.mil by Monday, September 12, 2022.
Recommended subject line: Make Florida Bay a top priority in final LOSOM rules!
Visit https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOSOM/ for more information.