Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lake Okeechobee and the Northern Estuaries: The High Cost of High Water...

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Audubon Florida
Lake Okeechobee Watershed
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Lake Okeechobee and the Northern Estuaries: The High Cost of High Water

Audubon recommends actions to ending harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.

Click to download fact sheet. 

There is an ecological crisis in the Lake Okeechobee watershed. Large quantities of water with high levels of nutrient pollution from Lake Okeechobee and local basins are being discharged through the fragile St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. 

The discharges have caused algae blooms to form, which negatively impacts native vegetation, fish, and coastal birds. Florida’s famously‐clear coastal waters have turned dark brown and green, driving away tourists, harming local businesses, and reducing home values. Scientists have also detected harmful bacteria in some areas, making the water dangerous for human contact.

There is no quick fix to solve this problem. Protecting the health of Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries requires long-term solutions that hold water in the right places at the right time to more closely replicate the balance of water levels in the historic Everglades.

Learn more about this issue and Audubon's recommendations for comprehensive solutions by downloading our latest fact sheet. Please feel free to share online or distribute at your next Audubon Chapter meeting or community gathering.