The Everglades Foundation Statement on the Corps’ LOSOM Announcement
Photo © Mac Stone
The Everglades Foundation released the following statement, attributed to its CEO Eric Eikenberg, regarding the United States Army Corps of Engineer’s (Corps) November 16, 2021 announcement on the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM).
“Following a nearly three-year long process of planning, modeling, meetings and discussion of various alternatives, the Corps has arrived at a final proposal for managing Lake Okeechobee – one that achieves the balance that both Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the South Florida Water Management District sought at the outset of this process.
“This is the first time since 2008 that water managers are changing their approach in managing Lake Okeechobee’s water, and it is a major improvement from the status quo for the overwhelming majority of Floridians. This plan will significantly reduce harmful discharges to our east and west coasts and increase water flow south to the Everglades and Florida Bay, particularly in the dry season.
“Thanks to our leaders – Governor DeSantis, the Corps, and the SFWMD – we will soon be ushering in a new phase of lake management, and all those who worked hard throughout this process to achieve a more balanced approach to managing the lake are to be commended.
“The final product more fairly distributes the benefits of Lake Okeechobee’s water, and it does not require any new infrastructure, meaning the benefits can be realized as soon as the new schedule is implemented in late 2022.
“While the long-term solution to South Florida’s complex water problems and the full elimination of discharges from the lake will only happen with new water infrastructure like the Everglades reservoir, this is a significant step toward a more balanced approach to managing the lake water that Floridians and our state rely on.”