U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be in South Florida this week reviewing damage from Hurricane Irma and getting a briefing about Everglades restoration efforts, according to his office.
Water started to be released Tuesday morning southwest from Lake Okeechobee, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeks to stem a post-hurricane rise in the lake’s water level. The Army Corps had resumed flows Friday from the lake east toward the St. Lucie Estuary but held off on western releases because of flooding from Hurricane Irma that has slowed storm recovery in Southwest Florida.
Roads became clogged and fuel supplies strained as more than 1 million people were told to find shelter inland, upstate or in neighboring states in advance of massive Hurricane Irma, which will blanket most of Florida this weekend.
Senate President Joe Negron on Friday said progress on a southern reservoir outlined in legislation passed this year, addressing South Florida’s water quality, is getting a kick-start. “…The Army Corps of Engineers intends to expedite the federal approval process … The Corps has determined the best option for achieving southern storage is not to seek new federal authority, but to use existing authority to pursue a modification to the current (project),” Negron said in a Friday statement.
Scientists working for the South Florida Water Management District presented findings Thursday pointing to inflows north of Lake Okeechobee as the source of nutrients causing recent algae blooms in the lake.
After millions of gallons of untreated water entered Lake Okeechobee this summer, significant algae blooms are now beginning to form – with nary a word from environmentalists. Both the Palm Beach Post and the TC Palm report on new blooms in Lake O, but (unlike last summer) absent any discharges from the lake there are no threats to the St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee basins or Martin County Beaches.
Chalk it up to “passion.” Or politics. Gov. Rick Scott, speaking to reporters after a Wednesday bill signing, explained away the open tension between him and House Speaker Richard Corcoran after the House this year tried to gut VISIT FLORIDA and do away with economic development organization Enterprise Florida, his two favored state agencies. By the end of the recent Special Session, however, lawmakers agreed to the creation of an $85 million Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to be controlled by Scott,…