Plan to end the dirty water releases from Lake O
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -Dark murky water released from Lake Okeechobee is turning the coast of Fort Myers Beach from blue to brown.
Many worry what this will do to tourism -- and the ecosystem.
Some say the water release shouldn't be happening in the first place.
There is a plan that could dramatically improve our water quality... but it's just sitting on the shelf waiting for congress to act!
Pictures show a wall of black water, saturated with fertilizers and waste... advancing ... swallowing up our local beaches.
Its not a pleasant experience for tourists and beach goers, who pump billions into the local economy.
Just ask those who work for the Lee County Visitors Convention Bureau.
Nancy Hamilton says "they love our beaches and the outdoor environment. so we all must look after that and be good stewards of our land."
There is a plan to be good stewards, developed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
It requires half a million acre feet of water storage.
The first of several reservoirs is called C-43... located halfway between Fort Myers and Lake Okeechobee.
Its 170 thousand acres.
There also needs to be reservoirs to the North... in the Kissimmee valley... to the east along Port Saint Lucy and to the south as well.
Then, restore the natural waterflow into the Everglades.
Believe it or not, land for C-43 was purchased 15 years ago... and still nothing has happened.
Kurt Harclerode with the Lee County Natural Resources Division says "the land has been purchased, we've done all the engineering the permits in hand. that project is what we would consider shovel ready."
and, congress has yet to do anything about it."
The Water Resource Development Act, if congress would pass it, would cover the cost.
Environmentalists, businessmen and government officials are asking everyone to get involved.
Nancy Hamilton says "we need to take action in whatever form we can. personally - maybe people write their congress person and tell them how important it is to our area. "
Because if we as a community don't start applying pressure, then progress will remain very slow.
Kurt Harclerode adds "this is going to take decades to complete."
Congressman Radel says he hopes that congress will pass the water bill by the end of this year.
Congress hasn't been able to agree on any water quality issues for the past seven years.