From about the 1940s to the 1980s, the agricultural industry doused the area with phosphorus rich fertilizer. Sebastian Lahara held a mock funeral for his kayak rental operation, and Wittman said he has lost $20,000 on canceled trips this summer. She is a 110 pound cougar. Harmful Discharges. "The question of who let the all that pollution into Lake Okeechobee is not a federal responsibility, that's a state responsibility. The Toxic Effects of Chlorine as a Drinking Water Disinfectant, Groundwater Contamination in the Nation’s Breadbasket, the Central Valley of California, The Unexpected Pollutive Effect of Goldfish on our Lakes. Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the our 24/7 digital news network. N.p., 27 06 … Clewiston, on the 750 square-mile lake's southern shore, has the most to offer vacationers, especially those intent on hooking into the lake's legendary largemouth bass and speckled perch. The lake is also one of the critical environmental issues in the state of Florida. © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. Unfortunately, this “liquid heart” of the Everglades is being polluted. The pond apple tree is recognized as an important nesting habitat for wading birds and a trellis for the Okeechobee gourd, which is now protected as an endangered species by federal law. Community Pulse Episode 3: Dr. Paul Gray of Audubon Florida and independent scientist Dr. Gary Goforth explain the pollution problem in Florida's Lake Okeechobee. By Paul Kruse marine biologist and oceanographer. Ochoa, Julio. Pollution aside, pure freshwater flowing into the ocean can lower salinity and disrupt marine life. The primary goal of CERP is to capture fresh water that now flows … Lake Okeechobee and Algae Pollution. Copyright © 2020 Save the Water™. The polluted, algae-infested water is then sent straight to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, devastating wildlife and people in the estuaries and coasts. In the years since, though, Lake Okeechobee’s pollution levels have grown, thanks mostly to intensive cattle and nursery operations, sewage-sludge spreading and vegetable farms that operate east, west, and north of the lake. And once phosphorus is in the water, it does not disappear. More: Record amount of nutrient pollution flows into Lake Okeechobee. The problem starts at Lake Okeechobee. Slightly later in the 16th century, René Goulaine de Laudonnièrereported hearing about a large freshwater lake in southern Florida called Serrope. On top of this, the Everglades offers the only place where both alligators and crocodiles coexist. Each year millions of people rely on them for water, recreation, and wonder. For the last 140 years, people have developed the Everglades for agriculture, leisure, and urban development. ii In compliance with the provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C §1251 et. Urban runoff from Central Florida is also a contributor. Cape Coral is less politically connected for some reason than Florida’s east coast, and the pollution from Lake Okeechobee’s disgusting run-off is disproportionately directed to us down the Caloosahatchee River because, well; we let it happen. Impacts of excessive phosphorus entering the lake 2. A vast area drains into Lake Okeechobee, where water laden with phosphorus has fertilized the growth of horrific algae blooms that have been discharged to the … Lake Okeechobee is the liquid heart of the Everglades. From about the 1940s to the 1980s, the agricultural industry doused the area with phosphorus rich fertilizer. Cyanobacteria in Lake Okeechobee seen from Port Mayaca, Florida. After heavy rains, the Army Corps of Engineers released millions of gallons to relieve pressure on the lake's old … Lake Okeechobee has been grappling with algae blooms for months. In fact, since the … However, without immediate intervention, the Everglades will continue to disappear. Indeed, it proves unique among wetlands on earth. Toxic algal blooms are not unique to Florida. Works Cited The Pollution of Lake Okeechobee Alvarez, Lizette. The lake is also one of the critical environmental issues in the state of Florida. With a surface area of 730 square miles, it is the largest lake in the southeastern United States. Cape Coral is less politically connected for some reason than Florida’s east coast, and the pollution from Lake Okeechobee’s disgusting run-off is disproportionately directed to us down the Caloosahatchee River because, well; we let it happen. These are man-made issues and man can fix them.". However, only an estimated 8 percent of the phosphorus in the Everglades and Kissimmee River basin is from residential and urban sources. But the water is chock full of chemicals and nutrients -- much of it runoff from commercial agriculture and sprawling development. This year the bloom grew large early in the season and it affected more people than usual, showing up far beyond the confines of the lakeshore. We visited Lake Okeechobee while in Okeechobee FL the lake is 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. Algae blooms are a regular phenomenon in Lake Okeechobee during the summertime. The New York Times. Since 1845, when Florida became a state, people have shaped the Everglades. By David Fleshler. Pr re eppaaredd bbyy:: USS EEPPAA oRReeggiionn 44 611 FFoorrssyy tthh SSttreeeet SSWW Atllaannttaa,, GGeeoorrggiia 3300330033 Junnee 22000088 . As mentioned earlier, phosphorus sticks around for ages. Most typically, phosphorus is released when rain and flooding move the groundwater south. Thanks to … Often described as a thick “guacamole” like sludge. There are approximately 190,000 metric tons of phosphorus in the soil in the Kissimmee River basin. "I mean, I've canceled my trips the last few weeks because of this issue. In Toledo, Ohio, a bloom in Lake Erie caused a tap water ban in nearby towns in 2014; the next year, the coast of Qingdao in China was hit with an algae bloom. After all, the 730 square miles of freshwater is bound to attract wildlife, right? To track and time water movement, scientists will dye water different colors. "It's not looking good for the future," Wittman said. For additional information, contact: David Guest, Earthjustice (850) 681-0031 Monica Reimer, Earthjustice (850) 681-0031 . Under water, the entire marine ecosystem is at risk. Lake Okeechobee is one of the largest sources of fresh drinking water for Florida residents today Geological surveys indicate that Lake Okeechobee was formed about 6,000 years ago, when ocean waters receded and water was left standing in a shallow depression in … Impacts of extreme high and low water levels 3. 12 Oct 2013. For additional information, contact: David Guest, Earthjustice (850) 681-0031 Monica Reimer, Earthjustice (850) 681-0031 . N.p., 08 09 2013. I am a biologist, with an interest in finding out how deep do a wild animals so called “wild instincts” go. The polluted, algae-infested water is then sent straight to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, devastating wildlife and people in the estuaries and coasts. Curious Mystery - Skeletons in Lake Okeechobee : Prior to 1910, early pioneers reported seeing human skeletons in the shallows around the southern end of the huge lake. The swollen lake … Each plant plays a role in the ecosystem, and some may even offer answers to how we can improve our agricultural methods. Unfortunately, over the years, the Lake has become heavily polluted by run-off from agriculture and development in Central & South Florida. Consequently, this use of the fragile ecosystem has reduced the area to half of what it was 100 years ago. Menu Home; Contact; Author: algaepollution Tracker . Despite its impressive size, the lake is shallow, with an average depth of only 9 feet. Pollution of Lake Okeechobee is contaminating drinking water supplies and destroying the St. Lucie River and Estuary. Without a radical development in the removal or neutralization of phosphorus, it is likely that this problem will persist. Scientists have linked toxin Located in South Florida, they are a vital and sensitive ecosystem. PORT MAYACA, Fla. -- Rain, heat and pollutants have caused an outbreak of toxic algae blooms, which can cause health problems. But sadly, over the last few months, Lake Okeechobee has been villainized and portrayed as a reservoir of dirty water. Web. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is the point source discharge permit program authorized by Section 402 of … Lake Okeechobee and Algae Pollution. Lake Okeechobee is fed by the Kissimmee River basin, a fertile area in South Florida which has been farmed for hundreds of years. Designated a national park in 1947, the Everglades provide a home to over 300 species of fish, 360 species of birds, and over 700 different kinds of plants. The Lake Okeechobee Watershed covers more than 2.9 million acres and consists of 9 sub-watersheds. Secondly, we will look at 6 ways you can help. Being the largest lake in the state of Florida, it is only natural that Lake Okeechobee is home to various wildlife – some of which are classified as endangered species. The pier is a nice viewing point to see the lake and a few gators. Meaning that only a small amount is released from the soil at any given time. After heavy rains, the Army Corps of Engineers released millions of gallons to relieve pressure on the lake's old … I am a biologist, with an interest in finding out how deep do a wild animals so called “wild instincts” go. Even the private sector is stepping in, offering a $10 million reward for the best plan to fix the problem. Lake Okeechobee is also used for public water supplies, which have been contaminated as well due to the pollution. The pier is a nice viewing point to see the lake and a few gators. Save the Water™ is a 501 (c)(3) organization dedicated to water research. Unfortunately, over the years, the Lake has become heavily polluted by run-off from … Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc.All rights reserved. We live in a democracy, and when we as citizens do not take our leaders in hand, we get pay to play results. Pr re eppaaredd bbyy:: USS EEPPAA oRReeggiionn 44 611 FFoorrssyy tthh SSttreeeet SSWW Atllaannttaa,, GGeeoorrggiia 3300330033 Junnee 22000088 . Now, the Everglades drives the multi-billion dollar economies of agriculture, recreation, and tourism. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the state and the eighth largest freshwater lake in the USA. The lake lies about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of West Palm Beach at the northern edge of the Everglades. Despite these other sources, most of the phosphorus comes from agriculture which accounts for an overwhelming 78 percent of the phosphorus. The Trouble with Phosphorus The problem is that phosphorus is hard to get rid of. Described as the “River of Grass,” the Everglades serves as a  true wonder. Last year, the total was 450 tons. Toxic algae bloom threatens Florida waters, Toxic algae leads Ohio to designate western Lake Erie as "impaired", Toxic algae becoming severe threat nationwide, California Privacy/Information We Collect. They have become problematic in other parts of the world as temperatures rise and water pollution worsens. Now, lawmakers in Florida want the governor to declare a state of emergency over an algae problem at Lake Okeechobee, the aquatic lifeblood of South Florida. Meeting Governor DeSantis’ January 10, 2020 Deadline for Updating BMAPs . Biologist John Cassani has been collecting samples, and warning about the health hazards. Lake Okeechobee means "big water" in the Seminole Indian language, an appropriate name for a water body whose opposite shore can't be seen from the water's edge. Mayaimi, meaning "big water," is the oldest known name, as reported in the 16th century, by Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda. Anywhere from 7 – 8 million people rely on water from Lake Okeechobee and many thousands more use the lake recreationally. And as a result are polluting the main source of water that feeds the Everglades. There's neurotoxins that they produce so it's a suite of really toxic stuff that can kill wildlife and really impact people's health," Cassani said. To add to this, phosphorus occurs naturally in lakes and waterways. As a result of this pollution, on July 2, 2018, NOAA satellite image indicated that 90 percent of the surface of Lake Okeechobee was covered with a blue green algae bloom ( When that mix bakes in the summer sun, the algae population explodes. At the heart of the Everglades is Lake Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee, lake in southeastern Florida, U.S., and the third largest freshwater lake wholly within the country (after Lake Michigan and Iliamna Lake, Alaska). Time is also important. Thanks to the toxic water, the algae population in rivers and lakes around Okeechobbe, such as the Kissimmee River, have been spiking out of control. Lake Okeechobee Tributaries Osceola, Polk, Okeechobee, Highlands, Glade, and Martin, Florida . Florida's algae problem stems from decades of Lake Okeechobee pollution. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution feeds dangerous algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee. The problem starts at Lake Okeechobee. Executive Order 19-12 “What can we do to achieve more now for Florida’s Environment?” Sometimes all the bureaucracy of water management makes it difficult to understand how things work. By Paul Kruse marine biologist and oceanographer. Impacts of nuisance and exotic speciesThese issues are tightly coupled, and all relate to the goal of rehabilitating the Lake Okeechobee ecosystem from impacts caused directly or indirectly by human actions. With Everglades restoration and Florida’s water issues in the forefront of the media since the year 2000 when the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) was introduced, there has been an ongoing debate of how the CERP plan should be implemented. This year's early bloom, however, could signal one of the worst summers yet. This is Tracker. The algae didn't just appear. Developed by STW™ Website Migration, Development & Design Team. OKEECHOBEE, FLA. — For all the things that change in South Florida — the skyline, the swelling population, sea level — one thing has remained remarkably constant: pollution in Lake Okeechobee. For all the things that change in South Florida — the skyline, the swelling population, sea level — one thing has remained remarkably constant: pollution in Lake Okeechobee. Yet, the Everglades still claims the top spot as the most diverse wetland in the United States. There are new concerns for Southwest Florida water quality. Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution feeds dangerous algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee. Once the algae starts to cover a waterway, it deprives it of oxygen, essentially sucking the life out of it. Sun Sentinel | Jul 08, 2016 at 8:09 PM . In fact, since the … lake Okeechobee well as other States in the state of Florida at. 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