The final draft of recommendations from the Florida Select Committee on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin was released sometime the third week of November 2013.
One of the longest standing solutions from the Environmental community is called Plan 6. This plan relies heavily on Federal partnership and is expected to take close to two decades to fully implement.
Florida Oceanographic Society’s Mark Perry
The latest activity in addressing the discharges from Lake Okeechobee produced the idea of preventing 1 million acre feet from entering into Lake Okeechobee in the first place. It is hoped that the Florida Department of Agriculture can achieve the feat of storing that amount of water if necessary. The idea of dispersed storage is not new, but utilizing the basics already in use by the water management districts the state may be able to enter into agreement with private land owners to provide water farming or long term water storage/containment areas. These projects would be individually engineered to meet BMP’s and TMDL requirements and provide the maximum potential for evaporation. By doing this, water can be held or slowed from entering into the lake too quickly. There will be ample evaporation and because of the BMP’s that will be adhered to, there is expected to be some cleaning that will occur to remaining water that does not evaporate. 1 million acre feet of water is about what was discharged in the lost summer of 2013. Finding places other than the lake for that water prevents the need for discharge all together.