Yesterday, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection convened local stakeholders — government representatives, scientists, environmentalists, agricultural operators and others — to continue development of the Lake Okeechobee restoration plan.
This meeting was another in a series of monthly gatherings to establish the specific pollutant load reductions and action strategies essential to improving lake water quality.
“The Lake Okeechobee restoration plan is one of the most complicated we have undertaken,” said Tom Frick, Director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “It is imperative we bring stakeholders together regularly to learn about the issues, develop restoration project options, and link this effort with other ongoing Lake Okeechobee protection programs.”
At 730 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in the southeastern United States and drains more than 3.5 million acres (5,500 square miles) spanning 10 Florida counties. It is in the heart of the greater Everglades ecosystem that stretches from the Kissimmee River to Florida Bay. With an average depth of only 9 feet, it is vulnerable both to pollution from surrounding land uses and flooding.
Press Release, March 20, 2014