Final opportunity to improve Lake Okeechobee operations-Comment for clean water today

It’s been quite a year for the fight for clean water in Florida. Whether it was the basis of public pressure to fight SB 2508, continued progress on key Everglades restoration projects, some serious state and federal dollars for those projects, a lot has happened – most of it positive and will move the proverbial “needle clean water”. ‘ Today, we have the opportunity to influence water policy in Florida for the next decade. Captains for Clean Water is calling for help to protect the Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) draft.

That process has been more than three years in the works, with a few bumps along the way, but now the Corps has released a final plan. This highly technical, 215-page document describes how water will be distributed from Lake Okeechobee, which has significant ramifications for all of South Florida. Too much Lake Okeechobee water is released onto the banks, and you have devastating algal blooms and fish kills on your hands. Likewise, if not enough water goes south, then you have hypersalinity and seagrass die-off. It’s a complex balancing act, but this LOSOM plan, “is the fairest plan and represents the favorable modeling they chose last fall,” according to Captains for Clean Water.

Dead fish washing ashore on Florida’s west coast after a red tide bloom.

Last year, thousands of fishing individuals and businesses stood with Captains for Clean Water to advocate for a fairer LOSOM plan, which should have had an impact. Because now an equal LOSOM plan that will send more water south and avoid coastal discharges is close to final approval.

“Thanks to your action, the Corps was selected an alternative to numerical modeling that was valued send 3 times more beneficial water to the southAND reduce harmful emissions on both coasts by about 37% as the foundation of the new plan. They have now wrapped the words around those numbers and we are safe this draft manual will be a significant improvement for our waters.

We are very close to the finish line in this critical project, but we need you to use your voice one last time to make sure the final operating manual is good for our waters!”

The LOSOM comment deadline is September 12th, but don’t wait until then – get your feedback in today! Thankfully, Captains for Clean Water has developed an easy-to-use form to submit a comment defending the Corps’ draft plan, which is fairer and sends more water south!

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Action Needed: Comment on LOSOM Today to improve water management in Florida

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