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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 St. Lucie Canal. Photo by Amy Green

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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 for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades, under contract with Johns Hopkins ... Read Full Bio »