Letter to the Editor: Join anglers for Lake Okeechobee to solve multiple water problems

There is no other place in the world I prefer to be than out on Lake Okeechobee. This lake is not only the lifeblood of my family and my community, but also of the Florida Everglades, and for far too long my home lake has been ignored.

Instead of being treated as a world-class fishing destination, or as a natural water resource, Lake O has become a storage tank for runoff from communities as far north as Orlando, causing high lake levels, nutrient pollution and algal blooms, particularly during the torrid summer months.
There are many voices out there advocating for the estuaries, but Anglers for Lake Okeechobee (AFLO) will focus on finding ways to stop nutrients from ever entering the lake in the first place — because while this problem may be complex, it is fixable.

In order to solve this, we must slow the flow of water entering from the northern watershed into Lake Okeechobee. As the Kissimmee River was channelized, the Chain of Lakes lowered, and the Orlando region rapidly developed, too much water from that basin now makes it way much too quickly into Lake O.

We need to expedite the planning efforts by both state and federal agencies to find quicker ways to store more water north of the lake and start to slow the flow. By slowing the flow of this water and finding ways to help clean it, we can help keep both the nutrient level and lake level under control. This would also reduce the need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make damaging releases to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

As an angler and a Floridian, I would like to see Lake O protected and cared for and the damaging releases to the coastal estuaries stopped. We can help make this happen by slowing the flow from the north, but we need everyone to come together and make this a priority. The beauty of AFLO is that it can be a catalyst for change that helps all South Florida fishing destinations touched by the lake.

Slowing the flow is Anglers for Lake Okeechobee’s No. 1 mission. I encourage anyone who cares about the future of South Florida to join AFLO and sign the Slow the Flow petition online at slowtheflowfl.com. To learn more about our mission and how you can become a member of AFLO, free of charge, please visit our website at anglersforlakeo.org and our Facebook page at facebook.com/AnglersForLakeO.

Breezy McMillan
Belle Glade
Breezy McMillan is a founding member of Anglers for Lake Okeechobee.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment