Army Corps works on manual for Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston meeting

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held their first meeting in Clewiston Tuesday to put together a manual to take care of Lake Okeechobee.

Ramon Iglesias, general manager of Roland and Mary Ann Martin’s Marina and Resort in Clewiston, said water issues affect us dramatically.

“We have tourists that come from all over the country fishing beautiful Lake Okeechobee,” Iglesias said. “It’s actually a bucket list for many.”

Iglesias, who is also the co-founder of Anglers for Lake Okeechobee, is on a mission to slow the water coming into the lake to clean it before entering.

Iglesias is fearful over the health of the lake. Those concerns brought him to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “LOSOM” project delivery team meeting on Tuesday. LOSOM stands for Lake Okeechobee system operating manual.

Tim Gysan, senior project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District, said it seeks a new regulation schedule for the lake. The new operation would better balance their goals for the people in Florida.

The Army Corps allowed the lake to fall to unusually low levels this year. The decision has been good for Southwest Florida so far. There have been no significant algae blooms. The success drives the Army Corps to conduct a similar discharge schedule next year.

But, Iglesias hopes the Army Corps considers cleaning the water before it gets to the lake.

“What people don’t realize that Lake Okeechobee, although we are discharging water to the east and west coasts,” Iglesias said, “that water originates from the northern estuaries.”

The Army Corps said the goal of the meeting was to listen to people like Iglesias as they put together their plan. The final report is not due until 2022.

The Army Corps will hold a LOSOM Public Workshop next month in Cape Coral.

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