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Revised Lake O’ Reservoir Bill Takes Sugar Land Out Of Equation

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

The head of Audubon Florida says he thinks Everglades advocates will support changes to legislation for a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

Senate President Joe Negron has scaled back an earlier bill opposed by the sugar industry. Instead of buying acres of sugar land, above-ground reservoirs would be built on land the state already owns.
It’s fewer acres but can store nearly the same amount of water, up to 120 billion gallons.  “Imagine a big bathtub on the landscape, a really big bathtub on the landscape, that’s what these sites will look like,” said Audubon Florida’s Executive Director Eric Draper.
These reservoirs would hold water that’s normally released into east and west of Lake Okeechobee.  Those discharges are blamed for toxic algae blooms.

Catherine Welch is news director at Rhode Island Public Radio. Before her move to Rhode Island in 2010, Catherine was news director at WHQR in Wilmington, NC. She was also news director at KBIA in Columbia, MO where she was a faculty member at the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism. Catherine has won several regional Edward R. Murrow awards and awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc., New England AP, North Carolina Press Association, Missouri Press Association, and Missouri Broadcasters Association.