FL KEYS NEWS: Keys gave reservoir bill big boost, lawmakers say

FL Keys News: Written by Kevin Wadlow. June 24, 2017.

Support from the Florida Keys “made a very, very big impact” in persuading Florida lawmakers to approve a massive water-storage area south of Lake Okeechobee, state Sen. Anitere Flores said Wednesday.

Midway through the spring legislative session, Senate Bill 10 that commits $50 million in state money toward the reservoir “had a 0.0 percent chance of passage,” Flores (R-Miami and the Keys) told Monroe County commissioners at a Wednesday legislative update in Key Largo.

The “south of the lake” reservoir has been advocated by environmentalists to hold and treat fresh water that can be sent through the Everglades system and into Florida Bay, which experts say has suffered from a lack of historical freshwater flow.

The reservoir also should help prevent huge discharges of fresh water from an overfull Lake Okeechobee into brackish coastal estuaries on both east and west Florida coastlines. The discharges have caused fill kills and sparked damaging algae blooms that can be seen from space.

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