As algae concerns grow, Lake O southern reservoir plan gains support

Palm Beach Post: Written by Kimberly Miller. June 14, 2018. 

A reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee would benefit the state’s flora and fauna from oyster beds in the lake-bombed northern estuaries to Florida Bay sea grasses, according to a draft environmental impact statement released last week.

The 140-page report from the Army Corps of Engineers does express concerns about whether water flowing south from the reservoir into the Everglades will be clean enough, but the analysis lists few drawbacks to the ambitious $1.4 billion project.

The draft assessment was made public just days after Treasure Coast residents began reporting puddles of blue-green algae hugging the shorelines of the St. Lucie River and collecting in marinas.

Harmful lake discharges that dilute the brackish waters of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries exacerbate algae growth. Those discharges would be reduced by the planned 10,500-acre above ground reservoir and a 6,500-acre storm water treatment area planned for western Palm Beach County.

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