New project will clean Lake O from the north in fight against blue-green algae

Streaks of blue-green algae can be seen on the surface of Lake Okeechobee on May 3, 2021. (Credit: Ralph Arwood/ Calusa Waterkeeper)

There will soon be another tool to try to prevent pollutants from entering Lake Okeechobee, which in turn could make their way down the Caloosahatchee River.

The South Florida Water Management District approved the Kissimmee Basin Stormwater Treatment Project to capture water from the Kissimmee River before runoff and nutrients float into the lake.

It will be the biggest of its kind north of Lake O.

It’s a group effort involving SFWMD, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Ecosystem Investment Partners. The goal is to reduce the amount of phosphorous entering the lake because it’s a nutrient that can feed algal blooms.

“As folks are aware, blue-green algae issues are directly associated with the nutrients that feed into the lake. And so the goal of this project is to directly reduce those nutrients so in and as a result would reduce the blue-green algae in the lake,” said Kyle Graham, senior program manager at Ecosystem Investment Partners.

The project will take at least five years to complete.

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