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Florida's Algae-Fighting Plan Criticized By Feds Over Bird

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida's decision to fight a massive algae bloom by temporarily holding more water north of Lake Okeechobee is drawing criticism from federal wildlife officials who say the rising water is threatening 10 nests of an endangered bird.

The South Florida Water District sent letters Friday to Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, informing them about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's request that it lower water in the Kissimmee River Valley to protect the snail kite nests. The district recently raised the water level by 1.4 feet to slow the amount flowing into the lake.

That reduced the amount of nutrient-laden water flowing into the St. Lucie River, where a massive algae bloom clogged parts with a guacamole-thick green sludge. Rubio and Nelson both criticized the wildlife service's request.