Carol Dover: Take action to protect Florida’s tourism industry
Goop: Florida is offering $3 million in grants to help clean up algae blooms.

algae blooms

As every Floridian knows, tourism is critical to our state’s booming economy. This $111.7 billion industry represents 1.4 million employees, and one out of every four people in the Sunshine State works in hospitality. With more than 850 miles of beautiful coastline, seemingly endless options for entertainment and warm sunshine, it’s no wonder that millions of people come to Florida every year.

Our state’s largest industry is in danger as a result of the algal blooms caused when the federal government releases water from Lake Okeechobee into our rivers and estuaries. Gov. Scott has taken incredible steps in securing millions of dollars in state funding for repairs to the Herbert Hoover dike and billions for Everglades restoration projects.

The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has worked tirelessly to expedite the EAA reservoir project, which is imperative for reducing the discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

Further, the SFWMD continues to study the situation and determine what other actions can be taken. But the bottom line is that Gov. Scott, the SFWMD and Floridians cannot stop the algal blooms or minimize the damage to our environment and economy on our own.

The federal government must take immediate and decisive action to help Florida.

The federal government should immediately fully fund their half of the state-federal partnership for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. To date, the state has contributed more than $2.3 billion, but the federal government has contributed only $1.3 billion.

Their failure to follow through on their commitment delays critical projects that will clean, store and move water south and thereby eliminate the need for the Lake Okeechobee releases.

Congress should quickly approve the EAA Reservoir Project. The SFWMD accelerated the planning and design for this project, and the White House Office of Management and Budget approved the plan last month.

However, the plan is still sitting in Congress, waiting on approval. Without Congressional approval, this key project is on hold, and the Lake Okeechobee discharges continue.

Finally, the Army Corps of Engineers should evaluate their plan for Lake Okeechobee. We are in the middle of the wet season. Funding for the Herbert Hoover dike rehabilitation is secured thanks to Gov. Scott. And yet, the Army Corps of Engineers has not updated the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule for a decade.

Florida’s leaders are doing all that they can to protect our environment, our people, our wildlife and our economy. We all understand that a long-term, lasting solution requires everyone working together, and Floridians are doing all we can.

We need our partners at the federal level to do the same.


Carol Dover is CEO/President of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. She can be reached at [email protected].

Guest Author


  • Ryan

    August 16, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    How much did Rick Scott pay you to place the blame on others? He has the power to fix this but his big sugar donors keep him from doing so. Stop trying to bash others when Scott, Putnam and Bondi are to blame for this mess which is killing our environment and tourism. #StopTheLies #VoteThemOut

  • Braden Turek

    August 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Governor Scott had eight years, the money, the land, the legislation to fix the blue green algae and red tide caused by Lake Okeechobee discharges. This is an ecologic and economic disaster failing all Floridians! Pathetic! We need the anti-climate change, anti-environment Republicans out of Florida Government post haste!! The earth is not 5,000 years old! We’re not going to move to Mars. Vote Blue.

    • Dale Krsek

      August 16, 2018 at 7:07 pm

      Yeah and Bill Nelson has had 40 years to fix it. Gov. Scott is not taking money from big sugar either. That’s a lie. Do some research before you both spout off. The Army Corp of Eng. are the ones releasing the algae in the rivers. Sorry you are filled with so much hate for a man that you wont even believe the truth. Must suck to be you.

    • Dale Krsek

      August 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm

      Cant fix red tide. Guess that shows how much you know about the situation.

Comments are closed.


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