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Conservation Groups Sue Federal Agencies Over Lake O Releases

Blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee River at the beginning of Summer, 2018.
Blue-green algae in the Caloosahatchee River at the beginning of Summer, 2018.

High volume releases of nutrient-rich, and blue-green algae laden water from Lake Okeechobee last summer led to massive algae blooms along the Caloosahatchee River, in Cape Coral canals, and in the river’s estuary. And this all happened as a prolonged red tide bloom persisted along the Southwest Florida coast.Now, three conservation groups are suing three federal agencies for what they say is a failure to address harm to Florida’s endangered species being caused by the releases.

The lawsuit was filed in the Southern District of Florida by the Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper, and the Waterkeeper Alliance – against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.Much of it comes down the release schedule used by the Corps to determine when to release water, and how much to release. The Corps says it plans to update that schedule once repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike are complete, but that’s years away at least, and these conservation groups say we must act now.


We're joined byJohn Cassani from Calusa Waterkeeper, and Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity, to get the latest.

Copyright 2019 WGCU

Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.