Joe Negron says he’ll push for funding to buy land south of Lake O

Lake Okeechobee pollution Everglades

Calls to send the water south of appear to have been heard.

Senate President Designate Joe Negron announced Tuesday he planned to push lawmakers to set aside money to purchase land for water storage south of Lake Okeechobee. The Stuart Republican said he has identified two areas — an area south of the lake that straddles the Miami Canal and the Bolles Canal, and an area to the southeast adjacent to existing stormwater treatment areas, canals and the A-1 flow equalization basin — as possible locations for the project.

In a statement, Negron said the areas were identified because of the “ability to leverage existing structures to facilitate the continued flow of water to the south.” The cost of reservoirs on 60,000 acres would be about $2.4 billion. The state’s commitment would be $1.2 billion, with the federal government picking up the difference.

Negron said the state could use Amendment 1 dollars — an estimated $100 million a year for 20 years — to finance purchase of the land and construction of reservoirs.

“For too long, our community has been plagued by tremendous environmental and economic impacts as hundreds of millions of gallons of water are released from Lake Okeechobee each year,” said Negron. “Permanent storage south of Lake Okeechobee is unquestionably needed as part of the overall plan to solve this catastrophic problem, particularly given the very devastating effects the current toxic algal blooms are causing in both our estuaries and the Everglades.”

A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Scott said he was reviewing the proposal and “will continue to review all options that will help with water quality in our state.”

Discharges from Lake Okeechobee have been blamed for the toxic algae that clogged up the Treasure Coast’s waterways and temporarily closed beaches earlier this summer. The Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water down the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers earlier this year, after a wetter-than-normal January.

Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster


  • Maury Lee

    August 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Permanent storage south of the lake is no solution to the problem! Not only will that send contaminated water through areas unaffected, it will waste a lot of tax payer dollars which could be used for other projects and such.

  • Jenna Murphy

    August 12, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    SO if its true that 90% of the Water coming into Lake O comes from the North – and the farmers you blame for this mess are in the South. Why are you blaming them for the pollution and the algae. Is there some other agenda?

  • Daisy Eloise Applewhite

    August 13, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Construct more reservoirs north of Lake Okeechobee. But one thing that’s missing here is the problem of contamination of the Okeechobee Watershed. Sewage sludge has been causing an over abundance of nutrient pollution but no one is addressing this problem. Just buying land south of the lake will do nothing to eliminate the cause of the lake’s pollution.

  • Sarah Jameson

    August 14, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    In Martin county alone studies show there are nearly 20 – 30,000 septic tanks that could be creating pollution in our waterways. *Brian Lapointe FAU Harbor Branch study

  • Molly Parker

    August 14, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    There is already more than 100,000 acres of public land that can be used for water storage already!

  • Theresa Cecelia

    August 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    The land purchase would have done very little to decrease discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie rivers and would eliminate critical funding needed on current Everglade Restoration projects on lands that have already been purchased.

  • James Shaw

    August 15, 2016 at 2:43 am

    How are farmers 100 miles to the south of us polluting our rivers – I’m all for blaming somebody but shouldn’t we be trying to stop the pollution where it starts?

Comments are closed.


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