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Photo: Chris Grisby/WINK News

Protesters gather in Clewiston to fight Lake O water management

Floridians flocked to Clewiston Saturday to demand solutions to the toxic algae problem throughout waterways in the ‘Save Our Fisheries Convoy’ protest.

Fishermen, boaters and kayakers from the Southwest Florida and the east coast of the state packed up and headed straight to the source: Lake Okeechobee.

They are fed up with the sight and smells of the blue-green algae that is invading the waterways. Fishermen and boaters want to take back control of Lake Okeechobee.

“The mismanagement of the water levels and the spraying on this lake have decimated the submerged vegetation on Lake Okeechobee,” said fisherman Scott Martin.

They say pollutants coming from as far north as Orlando are overwhelming the lake and causing the algae crisis plaguing Southwest Florida.

“The water was so clean, you could read a newspaper on the bottom,” said fisherman Captain Mike Jones.

Jones has been fishing in local waters since he was a child and says the lake is on it’s last leg.

“It’s a natural resource. I love this lake. It’s part of my son, he grew up on this water and it’s dying, literally dying,” said Jones.

Water is released from locks in Moore Haven into the Caloosahatchee, but why is this discharge coming into communities like in SWFL?

The fishermen say if it gets any higher at the locks, they’ll have to shut down.

“Quit managing just the water and let’s manage the lake to promote the grass to grow,” said Martin.

They say the grass serves as a natural filter, and without it, only time will tell what happens next.

“There is no outlook, it’s just going to be a reservoir with a dike around it. There’s nothing left. It’s dead,” said Jones.

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