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Sen. Nelson on New Reservoir Project South of Lake Okeechobee

Rachel Iacovone
Caloosahatchee River water laden with toxic blue-green algae in July 2018

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson took to the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' approval of a new reservoir to go south of Lake Okeechobee.

Nelson opened by calling the decision "very good news for Florida” – since more storage means less water being discharged from the lake to either coast.

“I was in the area of Lake Okeechobee visiting with folks," Nelson said, "on the west coast over in Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River and on the east coast in Stuart with the St. Lucie River.”

Both rivers and their connected waterways have experienced large blooms of toxic blue-green algae following the recent releases. It was while with those most affected that Nelson said he realized this problem was persistent.

“They’re facing a problem that seems to repeat itself almost every year,” Nelson said.

Earlier Wednesday, news broke of the passing of environmentalist and co-author of the Endangered Species Act Nathaniel Reed.

“He was bipartisan in his approach," Nelson said. "He served seven governors. It didn’t make any difference if the governor was a Republican or Democrat.”

The longtime Everglades restoration advocate passed away at 84 years old in an unspecified accident in Canada. Even in retirement, Reed continued to support starting a reservoir project like this.

“It saddens me so much to announce this good news at the same time of announcing the death of one of the nation’s true environmental champions," Nelson said.

Nelson ended by proposing the new reservoir project be named in Nathaniel Reed’s honor.