Federal officials tour Everglades restoration projects

On Aug. 15, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board Chairman Federico Fernandez and Executive Director Ernie Marks joined the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James to highlight some of the major Everglades restoration projects targeted at reducing Lake Okeechobee discharges to the northern estuaries. Additional participants included U.S. Army […]

Want to stop algal blooms? Stop feeding the algae

The cyanobacterial blooms that have plagued South Florida this summer have led to protests from the public, promises from politicians and blame (mostly targeted at farmers and Lake Okeechobee) from the coastal media. But amid all of the slogans, sound bites and allegations, maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking where the algae […]

Emergency wells could protect estuaries

As high temperatures and heavy rainfall continue to make conditions ideal for algae blooms, those who live near the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries are calling out for relief from freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee. So-called “emergency estuary protection wells” could offer relief. According to Robert Verrastro, South Florida Water Management District principal hydrogeologist, the […]

Loss of aquatic vegetation means ‘the lake is hurting’

High water levels are hurting Lake Okeechobee’s ecological balance. Water Resources Director Terrie Bates explained the issue at the July 12 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board. She said it is due to the lasting effects of Hurricane Irma, which churned the waters of the Big O and dumped enough rain […]

Mast argues for lower Lake Okeechobee level

STUART — Congressman Brian Mast’s proposal to lower Lake Okeechobee to 8 feet by the end of the dry season to prevent wet season releases to the coastal estuaries was the topic of discussion at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District briefing on Aug. 17 in Stuart City Hall. Ernie Marks, South Florida […]

Lakeside Ranch STA contract approved

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board last week awarded a contract to build the final piece of the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) project, the S-191A Pump Station. In cooperation with the other coordinating agencies, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, SFWMD’s project […]

Sugar farmers push back on attacks from media

Farmers around Lake Okeechobee are attempting to push back against attacks from politicians and media outlets around South Florida. After toxic algae blooms began to take over waterways in South Florida, some politicians running for election began to single out one scapegoat, ‘Big Sugar.’ During a campaign event in Fort Myers in early July, Republican […]

Nitrogen from the air helps fuel blue-green algae

Tests by the University of Florida show the cyanobacteria bloom in the lake has changed. At the start of the summer, the dominant type was a species of Microcystis, according to Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDEP) tests. In late July, the Microcystis bloom appeared to die off. A new bloom that has grown in […]

New NOAA image shows algae in 45 percent of lake

As the long, hot summer continues, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration continues to track cyanobacteria concentrations in Lake Okeechobee. The computer-generated image is derived from data using satellite imagery capturing spectrums of light not visible to the human eye. Cloud cover and wind can affect the satellite data. The image from Aug. 9 “is […]

Blue-green algae in about 30 percent of lake

Satellite images show cyanobacteria in about 30 percent of Lake Okeechobee. Images acquired on Aug. 6 are partly obscure by clouds on the eastern side of the lake, according to Dr. Sachi Mishra of the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Blooms are clearly visible in the lake […]