The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has formally adopted an aggressive 10-year restoration plan, known as a basin management action plan or BMAP, covering Lake Okeechobee.
The long-term restoration plan was carefully developed through a series of public meetings that included environmental groups, agricultural interests, local governments as well as the public. The plan identifies a set of strategies and projects to reduce nutrient pollution to the lake that represents more than a $750 million investment and nearly 33-percent reduction in total phosphorous entering Lake Okeechobee over the next 10 years.
The first five years of the plan cover a range of projects including the Kissimmee River Restoration Project, hybrid wetland treatment areas, dispersed water storage and stormwater treatment areas (STAs). The BMAP also identifies timeframes for the continued planning and development of longer-term projects over the next 10 years.
Located in the heart of the greater Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades ecosystem, Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and the second-largest freshwater lake within the contiguous United States. It is a valuable, multi-purpose waterbody that provides drinking water for urban areas, irrigation water for agricultural lands, recharge for aquifers and freshwater for the Everglades.