Scientist discusses Lake Okeechobee discharges

Posted at 6:25 PM, Feb 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 18:25:00-05

A scientist with the Everglades Foundation met with members of the Rivers Coalition Thursday to discuss the discharges coming out of Lake Okeechobee.

The plan that's been in the works for more than a decade is to send the discharges south of the lake.

Thomas Van Lent, Ph.D, is the Director of Science and Policy for the Everglades Foundation.

He said the system that's now in place that sends water east and west was established back in the 1930s.

"The best solution is to re-plumb our water management system so this doesn't happen," Thomas said.

Thomas focuses on water in the Everglades Watershed, which spreads across the state from Orlando to the Keys.

"The freshwater that's currently being wasted and causing such disaster here, is desperately needed in the south, in the Florida Bay," Thomas added.

But he says it's not realistic to see change in water flow anytime soon.

"I have to be realistic. There's very little we can do about the situation today," he said.

Thomas said it's going to take the help of politicians to get any changes made.

"Then we have to get approval in Washington D.C. that approves that. And then we have to get the funding in Washington, D.C. to build these project," he said.

Thomas added that there's a good chance the discharges will continue throughout the year, if the rain doesn't let up.

Jackie Trancynger has been living in Jensen Beach for fifteen years.

She's ready to see change when it comes to where the water flows.

"The only way to accomplish our task is to vote and to vote the people out of office who refuse to understand the solution," Jackie said.

She said one of the main reasons that we haven't seen any change is because of the governor.

"Get rid of the evil one that's in office now, and maybe we can teach the next one how to obey the will of the people," Jackie said.

She added, "My grandchildren won't have clean water to swim in, and the economic issue. We're putting small businessmen in Martin County out of business."