Residents plea to Army Corps to speed up Lake O water release guidelines

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Water being released from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River on October, 29.

A meeting in Buckingham allowed residents of Southwest Florida to make their displeasure with the Lake O water release known to the Army Corp that controls the amount of flow.

Dozens of community members, business owners, and city leaders who were plagued by red-tide, dead sea-life and algae, showed their frustration at the meeting, issuing some of the blame on the Army Corp of Engineers.

“It’s obviously a system that doesn’t work,” said Sanibel Mayor, Kevin Ruane.

The Army Corps decade-old system released water from Lake-O into our estuaries to relieve the aging Herbert Hoover Dike that protects the surrounding communities during the rainy season.

Repairs to the dike that will allow release reduction should be finished by 2022, and that is also when the Army Corps plan on having a new system in place that will take the public’s demand into consideration.

“At the end of the day we want a manual that when we’re making water management decisions that these are the same decisions that people would make if they were operating the lake,” said John Campbell of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The crowd was none too pleased with the timeline of the project.

“To think we’re gonna wait til 2022 when there’s so many inequities in the system right now seems bizarre,” said Sanibel Mayor Ruane.

But the Army Corp says there is only so much they can do.

“While we care a lot about water quality, we are limited in our authority and funding to address those particular subjects,” said Campbell.

There will be 7 more meetings across the state to continue discussing the south Florida water crisis.



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