Breaking: Senators to hear ambitious plan to fix Lake Okeechobee this morning

The battle over healing Florida’s freshwater heart moves to Tallahassee today as lawmakers hear the first formal presentation in an ambitious bid to buy farm land for Lake Okeechobee overflow.

There is no legislation filed, but the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources has set aside two hours for presentations on the sweeping problems created when man rerouted Florida’s natural plumbing, and the slow process of repairing the damage.

Algae flows out of Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Joe Forzano

Algae flows out of Lake Okeechobee on Friday, July 8. Photo by Palm Beach Post photographer Joe Forzano

Senate President Joe Negron pitched the multi-billion dollar plan to buy land south of the lake in August following a summer tainted on the Treasure Coast by widespread algae blooms seeded by discharges from a bloated Lake Okeechobee.

Negron’s proposal, which includes finding land viable for storing 120 billion gallons of water, builds on what many activists have been pleading for — to send excess Lake Okeechobee water south instead of dumping it east and west into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“We are very optimistic,” said Eric Eikenberg, chief executive officer of the Everglades Foundation, which supports a southern storage reservoir. “We’ve had positive discussions with not only senators impacted by the discharges, but also senators who understand the broader goal of Everglades restoration.”

But it may not be such an easy sell.

Read why there is opposition and concerns over bogus data  in the full Palm Beach Post story here. 

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