Hurricane Irma dealt huge blow to Lake Okeechobee

Scientists believe Hurricane Irma may have destroyed 70 square miles of underwater vegetation at Lake Okeechobee.

That's according to Paul Gray with Audubon Florida.

In other words, crushing the lake's natural filter.

High lake levels prevented sunlight from getting to underwater aquatic vegetation.

Scott Martin in Clewiston wants everyone to know about its impact.

"You have high muddy water. You have no grass," said Martin.

That grass is home to bass fish.

In 2016, the year of the algae crisis, high lake levels only killed roughly 20 square miles of vegetation.

The result of this loss is it will hurt businesses and communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee.

"No tournament. Gas stations would feel the effect, restaurants would feel the effect," said Ramon Iglesias at Roland and Mary Ann Martin's Marina and Resort.

Scientists say we won't know the full extent of the damage until the summer.

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