Conservation groups sue over the water quality crisis

Reporter: Sara Girard
Published: Updated:
Aerial footage of Lake Okeechobee on Aug. 13, 2018
Aerial footage of Lake Okeechobee on Aug. 13, 2018. Credit: WINK News.

Conservation groups could head to court over the water quality crisis.

Three groups, including the Calusa Waterkeeper, have filed an intent to sue the Army Corps of Engineers.

The groups said the Corps is not doing enough research before releasing polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. Also, water releases are to blame for the harmful algae blooms we saw over the summer.

The groups are concerned about the effect of the water on wildlife and the possibility the Corps is violating the Endangered Species Act. WINK News asked what exact solutions they are hoping to see.

But, Calusa Waterkeeper said it is up to the Corps to figure it out.

“There’s a lot of moving parts to that process, but we feel this is an opportunity to move forward in a more progressive way that basically brings more balance to the lake regulation schedule,” John Cassani said, director of Calusa Waterkeeper. “So it’s not all about flood control and water supply for irrigation.”

They also named U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service in the letter of intent to sue. WINK News reached out to all parties — they told us they do not comment on pending litigation.

The agencies have 60 days to respond to the claims.

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