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Nelson Calls For More Action For Estuaries Inundated By Okeechobee Water

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NASA (Wikimedia Commons)
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Sen. Bill Nelson is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to store more water south of Lake Okeechobee.

He says the action would spare coastal estuaries to the east and west where polluted water from the state’s largest lake is causing problems.

A guacamole-thick algae in the St. Lucie River prompted a state of emergency declaration for the area. The Caloosahatchee River is experiencing similar problems.

Nelson visited the St. Lucie River east of Lake Okeechobee as the area braced for a holiday weekend with beaches smeared by the foul-smelling algae.

“The raspy voice that I have right now is because I was breathing in those toxins as I was on the St. Lucie River at Stuart.”

The problem began with a wet winter that pushed Lake Okeechobee to its highest level in a decade. The lake releases are aimed at alleviating pressure on the lake’s aging dike.

The Army Corps announced June 30 it will reduce the releases.