Fight For Zero Discharges - In Progress

After reviewing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), we feel confident that the Preferred Alternative plan, in its current form, will greatly benefit the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon. We understand that this plan is not perfect; it considers the needs of many stakeholders across south Florida. As the final LOSOM plan takes shape, it is imperative that the following concerns be addressed:

  1. Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs): The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) must operate the STAs in a way that allows for adequate capacity to store and treat water released south from Lake Okeechobee. The flow of water south to the Everglades and not east to the St. Lucie Estuary is essential if the Preferred Alternative LOSOM plan is to operate beneficially. The timing and volume of discharges south from Lake Okeechobee are managed by the USACE and the SFWMD. The SFWMD is also responsible for managing the flow of water generated from the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA), resulting in the majority of the STAs capacity currently being filled by water generated outside of the Lake.
  2. Finish relevant projects that would support LOSOM effectiveness: The ongoing projects critical to the success of the Preferred Alternative must be identified and completed as soon as possible. In their draft EIS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers refers to ongoing projects that would allow for the Preferred Alternative plan to operate most beneficially. These projects must continue towards completion to make LOSOM effective.
  3. Flexibility is key in Zone D: It is important that Zone D remain broad and without the inclusion of sub-zones to ensure that the myriad of real-world conditions can be regarded in decision-making without the need for formal deviations. Zone D of the Preferred Alternative plan offers the most benefit to all stakeholders. It provides flexible operational control and allows for variables including meteorological and lake forecasts, ecological conditions, anticipated water supply demands, and many other factors to be considered.

The implementation of the Preferred Alternative plan is a collaborative one and we encourage the Army Corps to implement our suggestions and continue to work directly with state agencies, to create a more sound, equitable plan that will serve the needs of our environment, local economies, and the health of south Florida’s citizens.