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Higher Lake Okeechobee levels could impact vegetation

Posted: 4:40 PM, Jul 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-02 11:10:43-04
Higher Lake Okeechobee levels could impact vegetation
Higher Lake Okeechobee levels could impact vegetation

High Lake Okeechobee levels is a bad scenario for safety, but also the ecology of the lake.

There's concern with the U.S. Army Corps temporarily stopping discharges  that the lake will suffer even more.

Koby Kreiger pointed out Hurricane Irma's impact. "Lost a lot of vegetation," said Kreiger. "It's been decimated just from the high water conditions."

Now, with the lake steadily rising once again, he fears more vegetation will die. That vegetation helps keep the lake clean. You could call it a filtration for the lake.

"We need to try and get some water out of the lake," said Kreiger.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave both coasts a temporary break from Lake Okeechobee releases this week, but now the lake is holding more water.

High lake levels can kill vegetation. That's what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Vegetation is an important part of a huge bass fishing industry on the lake and is important for the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee.

Ramon Iglesias at Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina in Clewiston continues to push for storage areas north of the lake.

"Stop the flows to east and west coast, but did they stop the inflows, that's the key issue. The water is coming into the lake, but we're stopping it from going out," said Iglesias.

Right now both the Army Corps and the South Florida Water Management District are finding ways to send water south to reduce discharges east and west.