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Lake Okeechobee

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott ordered a state of emergency for seven counties around Lake Okeechobee as a result of toxic algae blooms. Now the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water from the lake because the algae has spread to both Florida coasts, hurting home values, tourism and local businesses. 

Water releases from Lake Okeechobee toward both Florida coasts will resume Friday amid political backlash and a toxic algae bloom.

White House Backs Everglades Reservoir

Jul 12, 2018

The White House on Tuesday backed Florida’s effort to secure federal funding for a reservoir intended to move water away from Lake Okeechobee and reduce discharges that residents blame for repeated toxic algae outbreaks spreading on both coasts.

Tourism, fishing and public health are being threatened by contaminants discoloring stretches of beaches at the southern end of the Florida peninsula.

There’s a new draft plan for more water storage north of Lake Okeechobee.

Scott Declares Emergency Over Algae Outbreaks

Jul 10, 2018

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday issued an emergency order over the reemergence of toxic algae outbreaks on both coasts, as the regions’ water quality blossoms into a political issue.

Dike Repair Money Coming Amid Algae Woes

Jul 9, 2018

As calls grow for state action to deal with toxic algae blooms in Southeast and Southwest Florida, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced funding is in place to speed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

A massive algae outbreak is spreading in the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida.

Worries Bloom Over Lake Okeechobee Algae

Jun 25, 2018

There are new fears about algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants discharges of polluted water out of Lake Okeechobee redirected elsewhere.

A reservoir project that could help address water challenges in the Everglades is one step closer to being built.

Congressional committees on Thursday approved a bill that, if passed, would authorize construction of a $1.4 billion water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. The reservoir would help reduce water discharges from Lake Okeechobee that contribute to algae blooms on Florida’s coasts; it would also increase water flow south to Florida Bay.

Trump's Proposed Budget Seeks State Money For Dike Repairs

Feb 14, 2018

State dollars will be needed to speed federal repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee, under President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.

Gov. Rick Scott was quick Monday to praise direction given in the proposed budget as solidifying Trump’s commitment to complete the federal dike repairs ahead of schedule.

Water managers planning a massive Everglades reservoir to help end polluted releases from Lake Okeechobee that regularly foul both coasts unveiled early drafts of the project Tuesday.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging lawmakers to put $50 million into repairs for Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover dike.

The water level in Lake Okeechobee appears to have stabilized.

Rainwater from Hurricane Irma has pushed the lake over an alarming 17 feet. It's risen more than 3 feet since the storm, the highest the lake level has been since Hurricane Wilma in 2005. That prompted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct daily inspections of the lake’s 80-year-old dike.

The Corps has been working to reinforce the eroded Herbert Hoover Dike for a decade. The $1.7 billion project is scheduled to take another eight years.

The Florida Cabinet has approved a conservation easement in the Lake Okeechobee watershed.

Excess water from Hurricane Irma is still making its way through Florida, exacerbating the significant water management challenges the state's faced this rainy season.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott got an update from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in Clewiston, Monday about the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.  Scott’s visit came just a day after water levels in the lake surpassed 17 ft.

The water level in Lake Okeechobee has reached a level not seen in more than a decade — 17.16 feet — prompting concerns about the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott accompanied U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Jason Kirk on a levee inspection around the lake in Clewiston on Monday.

The  Corps of Engineers will be conducting daily inspections of the southern half of the Herbert Hoover dike as long as the water level remains above 17 feet.

Lake Okeechobee is currently at 13.7 feet, which is a slight increase over the course of the week, despite days of water releases into the estuaries surrounding the lake.

While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not at this point believe the aging Hoover Dike is at risk of breach, there are three places where they expect significant amount of water to splash over and potentially stream over the top of those sites.

A planned reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee could take shape more quickly thanks to an Army Corps of Engineers decision.  

Florida is the nation’s largest producer of sugar cane, responsible for half of the country’s crop. Sugar’s environmental impact here is bitterly debated as work now begins among the sprawling fields south of Lake Okeechobee on a reservoir aimed at Everglades restoration.

A quarter of the nation’s sugar comes from Florida’s Everglades Agricultural Area. Here where the river of grass once flowed cane fields stretch to every horizon, green and swaying.

Toxic algal blooms have been happening more often in the rivers off Lake Okeechobee. One of the main causes is phosphorous runoff from wastewater and farmland. But a new filter may make algal blooms caused by wastewater a thing of the past. 

Army Corps Needs More Time On Negron Reservoir

Jul 27, 2017

Federal assistance may be on the way for the state's latest Everglades restoration effort.

The infrastructure that prevents Lake Okeechobee from spilling over is old. And that's why Congress allocated $49.6 million to help repair it this fiscal year. 

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who's the founder and Co-Chairman of the Everglades Caucus, toured the Herbert Hoover Dike on Lake Okeechobee Monday. He got an update on the dike's rehabilitation projects from the Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville district. 

Appeals Court Rejects Caloosahatchee Water Case

Jun 20, 2017

A federal appeals court Monday rejected a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ management of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River caused pollution problems in the Southwest Florida waterway.

Blue-green algae blooms that devastated Florida's coasts last summer contained as many as 28 types of bacteria, some of which can harm humans.

A new report by the American Civil Liberties Union is raising questions about the state’s handling of last summer’s toxic algae blooms in South Florida. 

Things are a bit quieter at the state capital, now that the year's legislative session is over. Many bills were left on the table, as always happens, but one that made it is being cheered by numerous environmental groups. 

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