Home Conservation Front

The latest from Congressman Brian Mast . . .

"There’s a very harmful rumor being spread by special interests that lowering the levels of Lake Okeechobee to about 10.5 feet at the beginning of the summer will put drinking water supply at risk. But the facts just don’t back up that misleading claim.

Here’s the truth: the biggest threat to drinking water in Palm Beach County is actually the massive amount of water permitted for agricultural irrigation and the huge amounts that are discharged to the coasts.

Why? Here are the numbers from 2018:

  • 16.6 billion gallons of Lake O water were used for municipal supply in West Palm Beach
  • 392 billion gallons of water were harmfully discharged to the Treasure Coast, where it can never be recovered for Everglades Restoration or drinking water
  • And 859 billion gallons of water were permitted for agricultural use

That means that 52 times the amount of water that was used for West Palm Beach water supply was permitted for agricultural use, and as a result of artificially high lake levels, the east coast of Florida received nearly 400 billion gallons of harmful discharges that damaged our communities and could never be used again.

Going back another year, in 2017, Lake Okeechobee was just under 11 feet heading into wet season. Every water user still got all the water they needed and the coasts were spared (until Hurricane Irma hit) from the kinds of massive summer discharges that led to lost summers in 2016 and 2018.

So, the reality is, lowering the levels of Lake Okeechobee heading into the wet season protects the drinking water supply for Florida by preventing massive freshwater discharges to the oceans that waste our water. And, preventing these discharges also protects the communities east and west of the lake from massive public health issues. It’s a win-win."








A southeast Florida laid back beach bum and volunteer bikini assessor who lives on island time. 

Replies

  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,727 Captain
    Unusually cognizant and bold for a politician
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • mannn123mannn123 Posts: 137 Deckhand
    Baits Out said:

    "

    Going back another year, in 2017, Lake Okeechobee was just under 11 feet heading into wet season. Every water user still got all the water they needed and the coasts were spared (until Hurricane Irma hit) from the kinds of massive summer discharges that led to lost summers in 2016 and 2018.

    Well, I am not sure the above is really accurate.  Its gotten lost in the shuffle from the red tide and excessive discharges in wet season of 2018, but in dry season of 2017 (even after Irma) people were clamoring for more water in the Caloosahatchee.  The cities/counties and environmental groups were writing the water management district demanding more water.  You can easily find the newspaper articles with headlines that "the state is not giving the Caloosahatchee enough water".

    Its always a gamble....lower it to combat against a wet season and corresponding discharges, but if its a real dry season, the river gets hypersaline, which some scientists say cause the estuary more harm then the excess freshwater....we fight to not have the water sometimes and then we turn around and fight to get more water....dysfunctional system for sure, but no easy answers.
  • We drained the swamp a long long time ago. Since then and forever in the future, the South Florida Ecosystem will have to adapt to an engineered swamp vs a natural swamp. 
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,795 Captain
    and after all these years of fiddling with the natural order of things (much of it needed to be done as our population grew - it's just that no one foresaw the results...) the bill for the 80 years of mistakes is finally coming due....

    My hat's off to any political types that put their political lives on the line over this most important of issues for our state.  My worry is that when folks realize just how much it's all going to cost (in every way you can think of -along with all that tax money...) they'll take the easy road and follow anyone that claims we can restore our natural resources without doing stuff that hurts....  Yeah baby - no need to raise taxes or make difficult choices -and we can just let it be business as usual.... There will be lots of folks who willingly believe those lies (our state's history confirms that if anyone bothers to look...).

    Support anyone who's trying to do the right thing for the 'glades and our natural resources... they're going to need all the help they can get...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • FS BlairFS Blair Posts: 1,775 Admin
    The good thing about Mast's effort to lower the Lake to 10.5 at the beginning of the wet season is that it's more about an operational change than needed funding for infrastructure.  It doesn't make it any easier to accomplish, because Big Sugar will fight to keep the water.  But, if we change priorities, siding with human health over the profitability of sugarcane we have a chance to fix things "sooner" than "later" 
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,727 Captain
    Probably worthy of scrutinize Everglades Foundation.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • CageyCagey Central FloridaPosts: 917 Officer
    edited April 9 #8
    I can't believe what I am reading here this morning- that anyone would dare consider Lake O for drinking water!

    For one, it is well known that Orlando sits up higher than Lake O. And therefore, all of the dirty water polluted with raw sewage flows right downhill and into the Kissimmee river and dumps into Lake O. And I mean huge amounts of raw sewage polluted waters too! And getting worse. added in is cattle manure, and fertilizer runoff.

    Up here in Orlando area some of us fishermen refuse to fish that lake because of this problem and call it Florida's toilet bowl lake since so much cattle manure and human sewage flows into it and sits there going nowhere collecting up in greater quantities over time.

    So saying Lake O is for drinking water is akin to saying hey let's all use septic tanks for storing drinking water too! Scientists say 60% of the pollution in our water is from human sewage.

    Now here is the really bad part no one is discussing. Anyone heard of BMAA?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta-Methylamino-L-alanine

    This is a byproduct of the bacteria growing in raw sewage polluted waters. It causes neurodegenerative disorders in humans and animals.

    Presently today the way we clean and treat our water from a place like Lake O and then run it into our homes as tap water to drink DOES NOT REMOVE BMAA. Only distillation can remove it. Repeat filtering and sterilizing it does not remove it.

    So again, I would not want to be drinking any water sourced out of Florida's toilet bowl lake O.

    The following video is an excellent source of scientific information on this subject I strongly suggest you take the time to view it.

    Please note the BMAA mention beginning at 12:10 mark in following video. Ask yourself if you want to take a chance on what these scientists are telling us is in the water- especially Lake O.



    https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/indian-river-lagoon/health/2019/06/10/lake-okeechobee-algae-bloom-toxic-microcystin/1408263001/

    With toxic blue-green algae bloom, don't eat Lake Okeechobee fish, Audubon biologist says

    Florida DEP report on Lake Okeechobee nutrient loading daily limits:

    https://floridadep.gov/sites/default/files/Lake_O_TMDL_Final.pdf

    Since the above report was written, scientists have measured increasing amounts of nutrient loading in Lake O, and in 2018 set a new record doubling the amount flowing in. And it is not getting any better! More people means more poop. And that means Lake O is getting worse by the day!

    https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/20180930/new-dangerous-lake-o-phosphorus-flow-10-times-state-goal-last-year

    Dangerous Lake O phosphorus flow 10 times state goal last year


    Bottom line, I would never discuss Lake O as a source for drinking water. Anyone doing so is seriously risking their health and the health of loved ones. BMAA and increasing incurable neurodegenerative disorders is nothing to play around with.

    I won't even fish in Lake O or stick my hand into a lake like that one. Don't want to go anywhere near it much less think about taking a drink from it.
  • CageyCagey Central FloridaPosts: 917 Officer
    edited April 9 #9
    I forgot to mention in the above comment that there are other reasons to avoid the waters of Lake O, especially for us fishermen.

    Some might think that floating around on top of the water and just fishing in it is safe enough, but in reality it isn't.

    Because of the tremendous amount of nutrient loading in Lake O, it is well known to cause algae blooms throughout the entire lake. And, these algae blooms release toxins into the air which are in their highest concentrations right where fishermen are located in their boats... breathing in toxins that the experts say are not being released by the human body:

    https://www.heraldtribune.com/zz/news/20200122/blue-green-algae-toxin-people-along-florida-river-breathed-it-in-but-didnt-pee-it-out

    Blue-green algae toxin: People along Florida river breathed it in, but didn’t pee it out


    Posted Jan 22, 2020 at 1:03 PM
       

    Exposure to toxic blue-green algae can cause immediate symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes and trouble breathing. Long-term exposure has been linked to liver disease and suspected of causing neurological ailments years down the road.

    Research in 2018 found: People who are around toxic blue-green algae blooms breathe toxins into their bodies.

    Brand-new research shows: Very few people who breathe in toxins urinate them out.

    https://www.tcpalm.com/story/news/local/2020/02/12/blue-green-algae-people-inhaling-more-toxins-says-harbor-branch-study/4707456002/

    As algae blooms get more intense, people breathe in more toxins: Harbor Branch study says

    Tyler Treadway, Treasure CoastPublished 1:33 p.m. ET Feb. 12, 2020 | Updated 5:14 p.m. ET Feb. 12, 2020

    • A bloom sampled Aug. 23, 2018, immediately upstream of the St. Lucie Lock and Dam, where Lake Okeechobee water enters the river, contained microcystin at a level of 495.06 parts per billion, nearly 50 times the level considered hazardous.

    More: Highly toxic algae bloom at dam linking Lake O, St. Lucie River

    As the toxins in the river samples increased, so did the concentration of microcystin in the nasal swabs."

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    All the more reasons to stay far away from Lake O! Fishing it is out of the question for those in the know... those who care about staying healthy that is.

    It is all the more important for us fishermen to learn how to steer clear of such filthy places and direct our boats and fishing efforts into much cleaner waters. And the FDEP is providing the public here in Florida with a way to do precisely that.

    In 2019 the FDEP launched a dashboard website tool for us to use to help all of us know precisely where dirty waters are located and when...

    So keep in mind the algae blooms are a direct result of polluted waters... find the algae blooms and you find the polluted waters to avoid:

    https://floridadep.gov/comm/press-office/news/dep-launches-interactive-algal-bloom-dashboard

    DEP Launches Interactive Algal Bloom Dashboard

    Home » Divisions » Office of Communications » Press Office » DEP Launches Interactive Algal Bloom Dashboard
    Date: Friday, May 24, 2019
    Division: Office of Communications
    Program Area: Press Office
    URL: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLDEP/bulletins/2470bbb

    https://floridadep.gov/AlgalBloom
    https://fdep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=d62c3487e8de49f6b3a6559cdf059e14
    https://floridadep.gov/dear/algal-bloom/content/algal-bloom-sampling-results

    It is also a good idea to subscribe to the weekly updates:

    https://floridadep.gov/programs/algal-bloom-monitoring-and-response

    The fish we seek also search out cleaner waters...

    I don't understand why Lake O has not been shut down for all fishing and boating with how polluted it is today. But, scientists are now actually studying the humans who do live around it and fish and boat in that lake as lab test subjects now... I would not want to be one of them.

    https://www.news-press.com/story/tech/science/environment/2019/05/20/florida-toxic-algae-cdc-study-lake-o-fishing-guides-who-inhaled-toxic-algae/3686033002/

    CDC to study how inhaled algae toxins affect Lake Okeechobee fishing guides

    Amy Bennett Williams, The News-PressPublished 10:40 a.m. ET May 20, 2019

    News of the research came as a surprise to Mary Ann Martin, whose popular Clewiston Marina is a hub for the people the CDC’s study targets, but she welcomes it.

    Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani does as well. “I recently came across a PowerPoint presentation from a leading researcher on inhalation toxicity, from the Geisel School of Medicine at New Hampshire's Dartmouth."

    Delivered last month, the Ivy League study is sobering, Cassani said. “It’s scary stuff.”
    Which is why he wants to see more such research. “Apparently nasal inhalation is the quickest form into your bloodstream … It’s just a mind-boggling issue,” he said. “I think it’s appropriate because there are established cancer clusters around Lake Okeechobee … but the puzzle is coming together.”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sad truth... Brian Mast is well aware of the above. And so the only conclusion I can come to is he is being misleading and deceptive big time in what he is saying.

    First of all, the people around Lake O want levels up because low levels deters fishing tourism dollars. If boats bottom out and can not reach certain areas of the lake then fishing revenue dollars goes down, down, down. So locals are pushing for higher lake levels.

    Secondly, that lake's job is flood control. The dike surrounding that lake has been recently overhauled and built bigger and stronger to hold more water.

    Holding water in that lake is not a good idea because all it is doing is sitting there collecting more and more polluted water going no where. And so the pollution increases daily. Keep this in mind as you read the OP's post above. POISON, TOXINS and BMAA are increasing daily in that lake and not getting better!

    The ONLY way to get rid of the pollution and toxins in that lake and water is to MOVE it out! We have no choice.

    So it is either east or west, or both. Scientists want to re-establish the flow to the South across river of grass and into Everglades and let Nature filter that water naturally, but it flows right off tip of Florida and into bay and ocean.

    One way or another that dirty water is heading to the ocean.

    Some have suggested pumping it deep underground and new wells are being drilled for this purpose, but this is unproven science. Frankenstein science. All that pollution can resurface and in our aquifer too.

    Hard to believe this Brian Mast is ignoring KNOWN science of BMAA to deceive us with.

    Humans should not come into contact with that water in Lake O. Using it for agriculture is debatable since BMAA passes right through the food chain. Discharges are a must. We have to whether we like it or not. Lake O can not continue to fill up holding more and more pollution inside. If a dike fails then what?

    Brian mast is not being honest nor revealing the truth in any way. He is dancing around it and even ignoring it. In fact, the state is now doing mitigation filtering of the discharges building massive filtering plants right now because they KNOW discharges have to happen so let's clean up the dirty water before it reaches the protesters who demand it all stay in one place- Lake O. It can't.

    https://www.naplesnews.com/story/opinion/2018/01/20/editorial-critical-year-keep-everglades-projects-moving-forward/1047409001/

    https://www.sfwmd.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ne_lakeo_watershed_phase2_summary.pdf

    https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-water/article/16223626/floridas-st-lucie-river-reservoir-project-employs-penetron-technology




  • CageyCagey Central FloridaPosts: 917 Officer
    edited April 9 #10
    Brian Mast said:


    So, the reality is, lowering the levels of Lake Okeechobee heading into the wet season protects the drinking water supply for Florida by preventing massive freshwater discharges to the oceans that waste our water. And, preventing these discharges also protects the communities east and west of the lake from massive public health issues. It’s a win-win."

    First of all Brian, exactly HOW do you lower lake levels in Lake O? By way of slow release discharges rather than large release dumps.

    So yeah, slow release dumps does kind of mitigate the large release dumps. But sir, they are the same thing and with the same dirty water. Nice double talk there!

    You can see how he is playing into the downstream protesters protesting the large water discharges... but is it really protecting those same communities from massive public health issues since the same dirty water is flowing to them in the same quantities over a drawn out longer period of time?

    The massive discharges make a bigger splash, and look a lot worse on camera, but the truth is, its the same dirty water, going to the same places, the same toxic pollution, just in carefully crafted smaller amounts to make it look better and sound better and not be as noticeable as the big splash effect of large discharges all at once.

    Um, Brian Mast, how is drinking polluted waters with BMAA a win win I can only wonder? Humans should not even be drinking it, but listening to you makes me think you don't care as you work hard to help people drink that water! Win, win huh? Slowly losing your mind over time to neurodegenerative disorders.

    If Brian Mast was really on our side he would screaming from the highest hill top in Florida do NOT drink that water! Don't go anywhere near it! Stop fishing in it! Save yourselves! But he isn't. He is finding a way to help us drink that water while calming the whiners who bought waterfront property downstream on the toilet bowl discharge waterways and surrounding areas.

    A typical bought and paid for puppet doing the balancing act between human forces, and big money, and science.

    Bottom line, if Lake O fills up too fast, then the discharges will have to accomodate to match. More massive discharges are coming when the rains come. Slow releases or big ones does not really matter since the same amount of toxins are there. Dump them all at once, or slowly over time does not really matter. Bend over because that water is coming whether any of like it or not.

    Drink up and enjoy! Inhale deeply and enjoy! Brian Mast is not protecting not one single person. He is just trying to mitigate the big splash effect on camera. That's it.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,727 Captain
    edited May 16 #11
    Keep Lake O as if the southern shore of the Lake was/ is @ nine foot above sea level, coordinated with significant “ Sheet Flow” Glades extending 90 miles south ( Don’t forget Ag Lands, and no more compartmentalizations/ dikes/ 20 foot levee / Reservoir on former Sheet Flow Lands)
    Monitor CARL / John Jones Florida Wildlife Federation Rotenberger Tract Parcel Parcel for water level schedule revisions, keep particular eye on Everglades Foundation on this and future Lake level.
    South Florida Population/water demand projections revised/ lowered.
    - Art Marshall. ( WMA # 1) et al 
    As if Art was alive and kickin today.

    That was Easy.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • FS BlairFS Blair Posts: 1,775 Admin
    Cagey, it's a complicated issue, by design.  But, your point that Lake O should be clear of toxins is right on.  But, lowering the lake to prevent discharges and stopping the pollution in the Lake are two different issues.  Both, need to be dealt with but the CORP, which reports to Congress, is directly involved with moving water and Lake levels.  The state is who we need to look to for stopping the pollution.  But, individuals in Congress can have a lot of influence in Tallahassee as well. 

    As for lowering the Lake to prevent massive bombs to the coastal estuaries, that's the goal of Congressman Brian Mast, first and foremost.  And I agree with it.  But, only if lowering the Lake coincides with continual water releases south and west during the dry season.  Without that, we'd have a problem.

    But, the goal has to be sending clean water south and west throughout the dry season. 

    We need to stop the practice of stockpiling water in Lake O for Water Insurance for the Sugar industry. 

    We also need to fight for cleaning up the Lake by ending the over nutrification of the Lake.  We have to stop the huge levels of nitrogen and phosphorous flowing into the Lake from watersheds just north of the Lake.
  • demersalangelerdemersalangeler SE FLORIDA Posts: 349 Deckhand
     For me this has always been a simple issue. 
     When they drained the glades. The water was diverted to areas that iether had no brackish water estuaries, or areas that did not have the brackish water capcity in the estuaries. 
     This issue will never go away without the restoration of the flow in the areas that were designed for the fresh water flow, or the creation of brackish estuaries in areas that do not possess the natural capacity. 
     Take the boyton inlet for example. It was not there until it was created. Then they introduce fresh water that would have not been naturally introduced into the area. (Other than natural run off.) With two fresh water drainage control locks. The area has no fresh, or brackish water estuaries & thus no capacity to deal with the water. Creating all kinds of pollutant problems. In this case the pollutant may be as simple as fresh water lowering the natural salinity lever of what is essentially sea water. 
     What I'm saying is. In a area such as this, the constant discharge will only create a constant discharge of pollutant water. It will make the problems a year long occurrence. Instead of a few months in the summer. It's not a fix, only a treatment of the symptom. 

     Keep in mind the lowering of salinity levels in the ocean can reduce natural currents in such areas as the golfstream. Reduced flow in thes areas can change our natural ecosystem, and even our climate. In extreme cases even stopping, or reversing the current flow. 

     I do have proposals that could lower the impact, or even stop the impact of the "pollutant" water almost entirely. While improving natural habitat, and not reclaiming improved land. However I will not get into them because I currently dont have the time to write about them here. 
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