State Legislators and Environmentalists recent water quality proposals are controversial with the various constituencies who have been affected by the large nutrient laden water releases from lake Okeechobee. The billions of gallons of water releases have plagued the beaches and estuaries on the east and west coasts of Florida.
The Ft. Myers News Press published an article “State May Pump Extra Storm Water Underground” , on Feb. 3rd 2017, which explained how the South Florida Water Management District , (SFWMD) may pump excess water underground in deep injection wells or use (ASR’s), Aquifer Storage and Recovery Reservoirs to store large quantities of water that would have been released into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. These measures would help the dirty water problems that have damaged the cities of Ft. Myers, Cape Coral and Sanibel on the west coast of Florida and Stuart on the east coast. Last year was a particularly bad year for the water releases from Lake Okeechochobee because of the large amount of rainfall we received in January which caused the lake levels to rise and the decision by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to open the flood gates to release large quantities of water.
Florida State Legislator and Senate President Joe Negron has stated that he wants to buy up to 60,000 acres of land south of the lake to build a reservoir to hold large quantities of water. Building a reservoir south of the lake has also been a top priority of people who are affected by the water releases from Okeechobee, The problem is that no agricultural land owners want to sell their land for this purpose and also say large job losses would occur if they sold their farmland. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan or (CERP) states that land purchases south of the lake is part of the strategy to restore the Everglades.
The pictures above show the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River which are all part of the watershed which affects the water quality problems in SW Florida.