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New Funding For Lake Okeechobee Dike As Algae Blooms

The sun sets behind the lock and dam on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River. Photo by Amy Green

Lake Okeechobee’s ailing dike is getting $514 million for repairs.

The federal funding comes as algae spreads across the state’s largest lake and flows toward coastal estuaries.

The algae, some of it toxic, threatens to upend another summer for Lake Okeechobee and coastal economies dependent on boating, fishing and swimming.

Gov. Rick Scott and other lawmakers had pressed for the funding to stem the flow to coastal estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon.

The money will fund dike repairs to their completion expected in 2022.

But Celeste De Palma of Audubon of Florida says while the repairs are needed other solutions are better for Florida’s complex water management problems.

She says Congress could vote on plans for a reservoir south of the lake as soon as this year with approval from the Trump administration’s Office of Budget and Management.

Reservoir construction would take at least seven years to complete.


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »