SFWMD looking for the most effective ways that lead to cleaner SWFL waterways

Teenagers are fighting for our water.

High school students held up signs Thursday at a meeting about the quality of our waterways.

The South Florida Water Management District meets every month to get ahead of another crisis like last year’s blue-green algae and red tide.

We all know Florida is divided by bodies of water, but it’s also common-ground for people from all backgrounds concerned about its quality and quantity.

“I’m really encouraged to see it because, you know, everyone is in this battle right now for a generational reason to make sure that Florida can be as good for the next generation or even better,” said Chauncey Goss, Chairman of the SFWMD Governing Board.

Thursday, the agency tasked with managing our water resources came to town.

The board went over water and ecological conditions, red tide, and projects impacting the Caloosahatchee Estuary such as the C-43 storage reservoir.

“It would be a shame if future generations never get the opportunity to enjoy the lake like I have,” said one student during public comment, referring to water storage north of Lake Okeechobee—a hot topic on Thursday.

Students from Clewiston High School lined up in the back of the ballroom, some holding signs advocating for water storage north of Lake Okeechobee and slowing water flow.

Students holding signs advocating for water storage north of Lake O and slowing water flow. (WINK News)
The Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District to try to improve the lake’s water supply and flows going into it.

“We’re doing well on the east with the C-44, we’re doing well on the west with the C-43, we’re doing well on the south with the EAA Reservoir, so we’re talking about what we’re going to do up north,” said Goss.

While storage north of the lake could help growers and the agriculture industry, Captains for Clean Water Co-Founder Captain Daniel Andres believes the storage could be limited in the event of heavy rainfall.

“I think the public deserves to know some answers to those questions before we invest a massive amount of taxpayer dollars in the project. Certainly not opposed to the project, but we just want to make sure that we’re using our very limited resources in the most effective way,” he said.

The most effective ways that lead to cleaner SWFL waterways.

The governing board looked at projects like the C-43 storage reservoir, which will hold water when needed, and send freshwater to the Caloosahatchee during the dry season.

It’s slated for completion in 2023.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
Writer:Briana Harvath
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