Aquatic vegetation key to improving water quality, says Scott Martin

The key to improving water quality in Lake Okeechobee is restoring the aquatic vegetation, according to professional angler Scott Martin. Mr. Martin spoke to the Water Resources Analysis Coalition at its Oct. 4 meeting in West Palm Beach. “I have lived around Lake Okeechobee my whole life,” he said. “I fished it since I was […]

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 […]

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 […]

LOBA ramping up its social media activity

Amid all the noise being made over algae blooms and nutrient-stifled waterways supposedly originating from Lake Okeechobee, the Lake O Business Alliance has steadily been raising its profile online to counter what LOBA Founder/President Julia du Plooy of Clewiston calls misinformation wrongly aiming blame at the Big Lake’s farming communities. But, rather than redirect the […]

Cyanobacteria in water column, not on lake’s surface

The good news: The surface of Lake Okeechobee is NOT covered in blue-green algae, toxic or otherwise. The bad news: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a large concentration of cyanobacteria (sometimes called “blue-green algae”) in the lake. According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, some of the samples […]

Public invited to comment on EAA reservoir plan

Plans for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee continue to move forward. The public had another chance to ask questions and comment on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) reservoir project June 27 at a meeting in Clewiston sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Similar meetings took place June 26 in LeHigh and June […]

Algal blooms reported throughout the area

Heavy rainfall in May and June followed by hot summer weather has led to increased reports of algal blooms and cyanobacteria blooms in South Florida. A combination of hot weather, low salinity, nitrogen and phosphorus can cause algae and cyanobacteria to grow rapidly; this is called a “bloom.” Laboratory tests are required to determine what […]

Satellite images show massive algal bloom on Lake Okeechobee

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is monitoring what they believe to be a large cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Okeechobee. According to Oceanographer Michelle Tomlinson of the NOAA National Ocean Service, they have been monitoring satellite photos of the lake since the start of June. Ms. Tomlinson shared the following information about the images. • […]

Algae testing takes time, says Department of Environmental Regulation

Algae is part of the natural ecosystem in lakes, rivers and streams worldwide. Algae is ever-present in Lake Okeechobee, even when it is not visible in a bloom; boaters and fishermen are used to seeing algae in the water column or blown about by the winds. Since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began releasing […]