Anglers call for help for Lake Okeechobee
Scott Martin of Anglers for Lake Okeechobee noted SFWMD is spending millions of dollars on projects but none of these projects will help the lake this year.
“Why aren’t we considered some projects inside the lake?” he asked. “I don’t hear of any projects or any funding for projects inside the lake. I’m asking the board to support aquatic vegetation rehabilitation in Lake Okeechobee.
“Ducks are a thing of the past on Lake Okeechobee,” said Scott. “Since we have virtually zero aquatic vegetation, there is no food for them. There is little food for the fish. The manatees are suffering. We need $100 million for Lake Okeechobee inside the lake.
“As great as these projects are east, west north and south, we have to put funding into Lake Okeechobee and rebuild the habitat,” he said.
“With the high lake stage, you can’t go in and do vegetation work,” said SFWMD Director of Water Resources Lawrence Glenn. “We need the lake to come down to about 12 feet and keep it down about 3 months to do planting and vegetation replacement.”
He said algal bloom potential on the lake is low, with a dramatic reduction in algae in recent weeks. The dissolved inorganic nitrogen has been used up, he said. Recent samplings have shown mixed species of algae and no toxins. About 25% of species of cyanobacteria (commonly called blue-green algae, although cyanobacteria are not true algae) are capable of producing toxins, but even those capable of producing toxins do not always do so. Researchers have found cyanobacteria appear to produce higher levels of toxins when nitrogen levels in the water area higher.
Algae and cyanobacteria are always present in the lakes and rivers – part of the natural ecosystem. Most of the year, they are not visible to the human eye. Under certain conditions – heat, lack of water movement, available nitrogen and phosphorus – cyanobacteria can reproduce rapidly into a visible bloom.