Where are our champions? What are elected officials doing to stop these discharges?

This is what 3,000+ cubic feet of water per second looked like at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam last weekend as discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie River began. Photo courtesy Jason Bultman.

Massive discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers began this past Saturday, with up to 6,500 cubic feet of water per second roaring through the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam/S-77 in Moore Haven and up to 3,600 cfs rushing through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam/S-80. Discharges will vary by day, for a 14-day average of 4,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee, 1,800 cfs to the St. Lucie and 500 cfs to the Lake Worth Lagoon.

It’s a man-made disaster likely to trigger oyster die-offs, seagrass loss and other effects.

What are our elected officials doing about this? To say “We have to be patient” until new projects like the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir come online doesn’t cut it. The estuaries and the communities that depend on them are suffering now, and we need action now.

There may be no instant fix — though we could demand that water be managed differently, reserving capacity in the taxpayer-funded stormwater treatment areas south of the EAA for lake water rather than farm runoff. And if that inconveniences Big Sugar – maybe they should share some of the adversity.

For once.

But even though there are no silver bullets, elected officials in the affected communities ought to be jumping up and down and demanding water managers do more, devise a different strategy, something — anything — to mitigate these discharges.

Our elected leaders need to LEAD on this issue. They can take a page from U.S. Rep. Brian Mast’s playbook; Mast, who represents St. Lucie, Martin and part of Palm Beach County, uses his position as a bully pulpit to pressure water managers.

Imagine if all our elected officials along the Caloosahatchee, St. Lucie and Lake Worth Lagoon did the same.

So what’s your legislator doing to stop these discharges and prevent them from happening again? Maybe you should ask them yourself.



Contact U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio: https://www.rubio.senate.gov/contact/

Contact U.S. Sen. Rick Scott: https://www.rickscott.senate.gov/contact/contact

Contact U.S. Rep. Brian Mast: https://mast.house.gov/email

Contact U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds: https://donalds.house.gov/contact/


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