Huffington Post: Lake Okeechobee needs a champion

Lake Okeechobee (Source: Huffington Post)

Right now, state agencies are working on a plan to update a plan to make a plan that might reduce phosphorus, in maybe the next couple decades.  And that should fix Lake Okeechobee’s problem?

Dear plan makers: Stop planning and take action. Now.

There needs to be measurable reductions of pollution in the watershed. To accomplish this, some state laws and rules need to be changed, and pollution prevention programs will require additional funding. While these changes might not be as sexy as starting big treatment projects, they are equally important and can reduce costs in the long-term. These new laws and rules can and should be implemented in a way that is helpful, not hurtful, to all of those affected.

Audubon Florida recommends the following:

 1. Update the BMP program for agriculture in the Northern Everglades to significantly reduce the amount of phosphorus from fertilizer and other sources added to the watershed.  Trust, but verify. Fully fund agency representatives to get their “boots on the ground” and visit farmers to help track what actions work and what does not work, and update as needed.

2. Limit the amount of phosphorus coming off of new developments in urban areas in the watershed.

3. Close the loophole that allows dried-out residuals from human waste to be used as fertilizer. Yuck.

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