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Hundreds rally at Sugarland Park against Lake O releases

Sara Belsole

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Hundreds rally at Sugarland Park against Lake O releases

CREATED Sep. 1, 2013 - UPDATED: Sep. 1, 2013
CLEWISTON, Fla. - More than 200 people from all over the state met at Sugarland Park in Clewiston Sunday afternoon for the Sugarland Rally against Lake Okeechobee releases.
"It's exciting, waking up this morning thinking we are going to go to the Sugarland rally, we feel like we are making a difference," fisherman Jean McElroy said.
Rally organizers said bringing people from all around the state is the best way to tackle the problem.
"There needs to be a solution that fits all Floridians so we want to stir that conversation up and get both the East Coast and the West Coats together to do that," Justin Riney, Founder of non-profit Mother Ocean, said.
Riney has spent the last 244 days paddling around the coast. He said he doesn't like what he sees.
"Algae blooms are choking off the wildlife and there's green slime on the water," Riney said.
McElroy said she has seen the same devastation.
"I am completely unable to touch the water at this point. It's scary, I am worried for the future," she said.
Glenn Roessner and his wife Karen are also worried. They are avid kayakers who have witnessed first had the effects of the releases from their home in Port St. Lucie.
"For us, the summer is ruined and it's not that short term," Glenn Roessner said, "Long term, it's far more devastating then just a lost summer of kayaking."
And while the solution isn't easy, those rallying today said cohesiveness is a step in the right direction.
"The more gatherings we have, it's opening peoples eyes that it's a real problem," McElroy said.