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South Florida’s Water Woes: Mitigating Algae Blooms and Solutions to Restore Everglades Water Flow

Mark Sadowski

Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency for Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Lee Counties related to a toxic blue-green algae bloom that’s left portions of Florida’s Atlantic coast covered in a thick layer of foul-smelling algae muck.  In response the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reduced the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers.

Due to an unusually rainy winter, excess releases of nutrient-laden water from Lake Okeechobee caused murky brown water conditions on the Gulf coast in Lee County earlier this year, disrupting salinity levels, killing oyster beds and sea grasses, and creating an eye-sore for beachgoers.  We explore efforts to mitigate the current blue-green algae bloom, and challenges and opportunities for long term projects needed to store water and to restore a more natural flow of water South from Lake Okeechobee through the Everglades.


John Campbell, Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District

Rae Ann Wessel, Natural Resource Police Director for the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation