New project will send water south of Lake Okeechobee, restore the Everglades

Sending water south of Lake Okeechobee. The goal? Restore the Everglades and cut back harmful discharges to our coast.

Anthony Karp welcomes the news that less water will head west toward his canal from Lake O.

“It smelled horrible,” he said.

That’s because almost two years ago, the blue-green algae was so putrid here that FGCU researchers sampled for algae in the air.

“It seems like there’s been a lot of action taken. We’re very happy that positive change is coming,” Karp said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District will move forward with a construction project to move cleaned water toward the Everglades and cut back discharges headed our way.

“It’s going to take some of the pressure off of our estuaries, which is really what we want to do is to try and ultimately eliminate those harmful discharges that we have going east and west and to move that water south to Florida Bay where it historically and traditionally has gone,” said Chauncey Goss, chairman of the SFWMD Governing Board.

With the help of a new pump station, spillways and road removal, it’s just one part of the bigger project to restore the Everglades.

“We are undertaking the world’s, in history’s, largest ecosystem restoration program and we’re constructing projects all throughout that South Florida landscape that’s meant to help bring the right amount water of the right quality and the right time to Everglades National Park,” said Howard Gonzales, program manager for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Program, USACE.

Unfortunately, this is not a fast fix. The Army Corps expects the project to take seven to 10 years to complete.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
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