Public Input Needed: Is Lake Okeechobee Management Working for You?
We need your help. The Army Corps is reviewing its rules for managing Lake Okeechobee, and they want to hear whether discharges or toxic blooms have impacted people’s lives and livelihoods.
They’re gathering comments in a series of public forums, called National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) scoping meetings, to guide planning on the upcoming Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). Your personal story can shape the way the federal government manages South Florida’s waterways. So can your silence.
The Corps begins this process with no assumptions. That means if they don’t hear much about toxic algae, red tide, respiratory problems, poisoned dogs, lost revenue, cancelled vacations, closed beaches, dead manatees (and dolphins and turtles and fish and everything else that dies in toxic blooms)–no matter what they saw on the news last summer–they’ll record that the current system is working fine and doesn’t need major changes.
Please don’t let that happen. (You don’t have to be a Florida resident, and you don’t have to be in the room to tell your story.)
If you’ve seen the impacts of toxic blooms, discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee, or the collapse of Florida Bay and the health of the Everglades, the Corps needs to hear from you. Here’s how to participate:
Attend a Meeting
The schedule is here with background and guidelines and listed below. Please prepare an honest, brief, sharp (but respectful) comment on your experience. Focus on whatever means the most to you: concerns over your family’s health, worries about links to liver failure and neurological diseases like ALS, financial stress from lost business or dropping home values, losing access to the water or the fishery or the activities you love… anything that affects you.
Send Comments by Email
Email your comments to the Corps directly (addressed to Dr. Ann Hodgson, USACOE, Jacksonville District at LakeOComments@usace.army.mil) by clicking here to open a pre-formatted email window. Just add your own story and click “send.”
Send Comments by Mail
Address your letter to Dr. Ann Hodgson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Jacksonville District, PO Box 4970, Jacksonville FL 32232-0019.
The deadline is March 31st but please don’t wait. The sooner your voice becomes part of the public response, the better our chances for a new policy that doesn’t poison our communities, kill our pets, wipe out our fisheries, or destroy the way of life that makes Florida’s water worth fighting for.