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Senate Bill 2508 Would Change Management of Lake Okeechobee

Information Courtesy of Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch from her blog article,

“Senate Bill 2508 in Black, White and Toxic Algae Green”


Florida Senate Bill 2058 would constrain how the Army Corps of Engineers manages water levels at Lake Okeechobee.  If the bill passes, three years of collective stakeholder work on LOSOM (Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual) would be overridden and water supplies would be guaranteed in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) for sugarcane.


Governor DeSantis issued a statement of February 10 critical of the bill, stating he “opposes any measure that derails progress on reducing harmful discharges and sending more water to the Everglades.  Moreover, I reject any attempt to deprioritize the EAA Reservoir project south of Lake Okeechobee.”


Effects of the Bill:

  1. Dilutes the state’s prioritization of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir and forces the South Florida Water Management District to embrace and compel a policy for Lake O management that artificially holds water back in the lake at higher levels.  Higher lake levels increase the likelihood of harmful toxic discharges to our coastal estuaries and starve the Everglades of water it desperately needs during the dry season.

  2. If passed, the bill would require the Army Corps of Engineers to present to President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House with any proposed additions or changes to the LOSOM.  These changes could not

    1. diminish the quantity of water available to any legal user;

    2. otherwise adversely impact any existing legal user;

    3. diminish the existing levels of service for flood protection;

    4. adversely affect adopted minimum flows and levels;

    5. fail to adapt to meet the needs of the restored natural environment;

  3. Hundreds of millions of dollars in critical state funding for the EAA Reservoir end Everglades Restoration projects are effectively held hostage and made contingent on the passage of this bill.  If passed, this bill threatens the South Florida Water Management District by indicating the legislature will not pay any past CERP (Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan) appropriations unless these new lake management policies are executed.  This means that current work on Everglades projects may have to stop if funding from the state legislature ends.  


Read Bill 2508 here:

Gayle Harrell is the state senator representing Hutchinson Island.

Lake O Dam.jpg
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