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The South Florida Water Management District is putting into use fallow farm land near Lake Okeechobee to store billions of gallons of water that would otherwise have been released down the Caloosahatchee River. The water storage area called the Nicodemus Slough will be able to filter nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous out of the water. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers releases billions of gallons of nutrient laden water out of the large lake whenever it’s level approaches 15 feet. Hurricanes in the past have pushed water over the lakes levees flooding nearby towns and causing many deaths. The Corp of Engineers releases billions of gallons of water down the Caloosahatchee to the west and St. Lucie river to the east causing many water and beach problems for residents on both coasts. Excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous cause large algae blooms producing an ugly and foul slimy surface on the water surface and fish die offs. The Nicodemus Slough which is located on 16,000 acres of unused farmland just west of Lake Okeechobee will collect some of these water releases and hopefully lessen some of the Caloosahatchee’s and St. Lucie’s water problems.
Picture courtesy of South Florida water Management District.