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Glades community speaks up about Lake O and water disputes

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Posted at 7:16 PM, Jul 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 07:48:14-04

Lake Okeechobee has been in the spot light since the beginning of the year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began discharging billions of gallons of water into the St Lucie Estuary to manage the lake levels.

RELATED: Special section | Map of algae blooms in Florida
 
Many blame the lake and those discharges for the toxic algae devastating the Treasure Coast. And the pressure is on to find other ways to manage the lake levels without discharging the water east and west.

Reverend Patricia Wallace lives in Pahokee, and Lake Okeechobee is in her back yard.

She says some of the solutions being discussed would hurt her community.
 
“We are living vessels. We are people, and we count we matter. We are landowners we are taxpayers,” she said.
 
She says when people say buy the land and send it south, that’s the land people in her community depend on to live and work.
 
“People should come before property,” said Wallace. “We have to bring the people who are affected to the table. How can you talk about me without me being at the table?”

That’s only part of the problem for those living in the Glades communities. The other half is dealing with the bad rap they say the lake is getting as a result of the algae blooms.

“We have sat back for so long and haven’t really spoken out about some of the issues,” said Pahokee Deputy City Manager Tammy Jackson-Moore. “To hear all the people on the coast putting all the blame on Lake O area, it’s not fair and it’s untrue.”
 
These residents are now standing up for their lake and their communities.

“We have lived off this lake and the fish that come from this lake for numerous years and it’s good,” Jackson-Moore said.
 
Moore says the Glades will not stay silent anymore on the algae problem. They want to be sure everyone knows that solutions being discussed impact these communities too.

Friday, there will be a town hall meeting in Clewiston to discuss and inform the community members about these concerns. 
 

 

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