Please take action today. Here’s what you need to know about the two most important issues facing the iconic Lake Okeechobee: Water Levels in the Lake Must Protect Communities, Water Quality, and Wildlife. Do you know why Florida is regarded as the Fishing Capital of the world? It is because Lake Okeechobee is situated there. CLEWISTON, Fla. — If you fish a tournament on Lake Okeechobee between now and Sept. 30, 2020, you can make an important contribution to fisheries management, as well as help ensure a bright future for competitive bass fishing in Florida Lake Okeechobee, lake in southeastern Florida, U.S., and the third largest freshwater lake wholly within the country (after Lake Michigan and Iliamna Lake, Alaska). Its bass fishery is world famous, and its black crappie fishery can yield more fish than the rest of Florida combined. Okeechobee is far more important, however, than Lake Apopka. What exactly is the Herbert Hoover Dike and why is it important? Your support will power our science, education, advocacy and on-the-ground conservation efforts. 2 The Good Life Lake Okeechobee and the Herbert Hoover Dike Are Important to South Florida. OKEECHOBEE — There was good news at the Dec. 11 meeting of the County Coalition for Responsible Management of Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries: Septic-to-sewer projects are planned in Glades and Okeechobee counties. Lake Okeechobee Fishing: Fun Facts about the Bass. The lake’s water levels should range from 12 feet in the dry season to 15 feet in the wet season. As of Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Okeechobee County has these important updates: Okeechobee County emergency officials are monitoring Potential Tropical Cyclone 9. With very wet events like heavy rains and hurricanes, the lake often experiences rapid and uncontrolled rises in its water level. The lake provides flood protection and attracts boating and recreation enthusiasts from around the world. Lake Okeechobee is important to nearly everyone in South Florida and the Corps’ operating manual for the lake should reflect this and balance everyone’s concerns. At Okeechobee own itself there is a pier which is a great viewing spot. The idea of the C-43 Reservoir is to both reduce the amount of water released from Lake Okeechobee that makes it to the estuary during the wet season and to store water to be released during dry season in order to help maintain an ideal salinity in the upper estuary. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing this water from Lake Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee means "big water" in the Seminole Indian language, an appropriate name for a water body whose opposite shore can't be seen from the water's edge. An Everglades ecologist can explain why Lake Okeechobee's water is needed to help the "River of Grass." In-lake projects address three key issues: These issues are tightly coupled, and all relate to the goal of rehabilitating the Lake Okeechobee ecosystem from impacts caused directly or indirectly by human actions. The four priority basins (S-191, S-154, S-65D and S-65E), which total approximately 450 square miles of the Lake Okeechobee watershed, contribute the highest phosphorus concentrations and loads (35 percent of total) to the lake. Our mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. Sometimes referred to as Florida's inland sea, Lake Okeechobee is central to a region of Florida historically known for its agriculture, but in recent times also equated with superior fishing, boating and trails. A new lake level management planning process starts in 2019, and this is a top Audubon priority. Neither the black nor the white neighborhoods were spared by the storm, with the floods sweeping over 2,000 … Next year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will amend a decades-old plan aimed to achieve nutrient reduction into the lake by 2034. Each worked as a computer engineer and at the time of the incident were working on “an important product for a big client”. The Florida Legislature in 2007 expanded the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act to strengthen protection for the Northern Everglades by restoring and preserving the entire Lake Okeechobee watershed, including the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Lake Okeechobee provides natural habitat for fish, wading birds and other wildlife, and it supplies essential water for people, farms and the environment. Those nutrients feed blue … Lake Okeechobee water begins moving through the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Martin County. According to Florida Sea Grant, nitrogen is now the limiting factor for cyanobacterial blooms on Lake Okeechobee. Best Management Practices 10. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is releasing this water from Lake Okeechobee. Located in South Florida, they are a vital and sensitive ecosystem. Florida's birds and wildlife need your time and energy. Peaceful, beautiful and plenty of wildlife This is a special place and makes such a change from the tourist commercialism of the east and west coasts. Decades of over-fertilizing in this agriculture-rich area created the high phosphorus flows into the lake today. It’s an incredible lake, but it’s had a lot of problems and it wasn’t properly funded for years. ... “And most important, it will help save the Caloosahatchee!” The lake covers over 730 square miles and is connected to both of Florida's coasts via the man made Okeechobee Waterway. Each year millions of people rely on them for water, recreation, and wonder. In-lake projects include cause-effect experimental research, long-term observational studies, modeling, restoration feasibility studies, exotic vegetation control and actual habitat restoration. The Lake is 33 miles wide from north to south, and 30 miles wide from east to west. Lake Okeechobee is renowned internationally for its fishing for bass and other species. The lake is so big that boaters can't see the shoreline when in the middle of the massive waterway. Lake Okeechobee is also a key component of South Florida's water supply and flood control systems. Lake Okeechobee facts. Spread the word. Lake Okeechobee and its wetlands are at the center of a much larger watershed, the Greater Everglades, that stretches from the Kissimmee River through the Everglades and finally into Florida Bay. Lake Okeechobee is important to Florida because it's the biggest lake in florida. It is the greatest provider of drinking water for south Florida, averaging 13-19 feet in depth. Total phosphorus loading into Lake Okeechobee is approximately 600 metric tons per year. Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) is a 143-mile earthen dam that surrounds Lake Okeechobee, the heart of … Lake Okeechobee. Urge the Army Corps to lower the lake in the dry season to create capacity on the lake for rainfall in the rainy season. Though many understand Lake Okeechobee is the largest lake in the state, many do not know it is the second largest freshwater lake that's entirely within the United States. The current lake management keeps the lake too deep, too often- hurting both Okeechobee and the estuaries. Unfortunately, this “liquid heart” of the Everglades is being polluted. So it doesn’t overflow. Audubon will actively participate to ensure the plan significantly addresses the nutrient pollution plaguing the lake. All of this work directly supports the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and/or the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program. Lands to the south of Orlando drain into Lake Okeechobee and deliver the majority of nitrogen and phosphorus to the lake. There was also some bad news with the report on flooding south of the lake. The pond apple tree is recognized as an important nesting habitat for wading birds and a trellis for the Okeechobee gourd, which is now protected as an endangered species by federal law. Any future decisions about Lake Okeechobee must carefully consider the impacts to communities, wildlife, and the entire ecosystem. Your support will power our science, education, advocacy and on-the-ground conservation efforts. Record phosphorus inflows, persistent harmful blue-green algal blooms, high water levels, and harmful estuary releases inundated Lake Okeechobee and the downstream ecosystems. Others use include for recreation, navigation, storm and flood management and improvement for wildlife and fish. The majority of the activities are phosphorus reduction implementation projects such as stormwater treatment areas and best management practices. Lake Okeechobee. Without the lake, the area is approximately 2.4 million acres, or 3700 square miles. The second-largest freshwater lake entirely within U.S. boundaries, it is contained by the Herbert Hoover Dike, built in 1928. Lake Okeechobee is the key to the ecosystem of Florida and Everglades. Lake Okeechobee Fishing: Fun Facts about the Bass. Despite its impressive size, the lake is shallow, with an average depth of only 9 feet. The review called Lake Okeechobee “a critical linchpin of the South Florida ecosystem.” Improving its water quality is important not only to the life within and near the lake, but also to ecosystems downstream and as an important part of water storage in restoration of the historic Everglades. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages Lake Okeechobee water levels for five purposes: flood control, water supply, navigation, recreation and the preservation of fish and wildlife resources. Lake Okeechobee was once a healthy and vibrant biological hotspot. It is also home to sport and commercial fisheries. Freshwater fishing retail sales in the five counties surrounding Lake O (Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, Hendry and Glades) were estimated at more than $117 million during 2000. The review called Lake Okeechobee “a critical linchpin of the South Florida ecosystem.” Improving its water quality is important not only to the life within and near the lake, but also to ecosystems downstream and as an important part of water storage in restoration of the historic Everglades. Lake Okeechobee is the heart of the Central Everglades - the historical gatekeeper between the watershed from the north and the Southern Everglades and Florida Bay to its south. Watershed projects occurring within the Lake Okeechobee watershed management area focus on reducing phosphorus flowing into the lake at the parcel, sub-basin or regional scale. Water Reservations 6. It is the greatest provider of drinking water for south Florida, averaging 13-19 feet in depth. 3301 Gun Club Road It is designed to restore and protect the lake by improving water quality and implementing long-term solutions through a variety of specific components. The lake is also is critical for the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, is a migratory stopover for millions of bird,and hosts a significant percent of wading bird nesting in the state. The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was one of the major battles of the Second Seminole War. Really young largemouth bass under 2 inches are referred to as “fry.” These little guys feed on zooplankton, small shrimp, insect larvae before they grow up into largemouth bass predators. Lake Okeechobee is the third largest freshwater lake that's wholly within the United States. He noted the lower level of Lake Okeechobee at the start of the 2020 rainy season provided more capacity in the lake. State water managers, on the other hand, favor higher water levels to ensure ample water supply for farms and cities. A vast area drains into Lake Okeechobee, where water laden with phosphorus has fertilized the growth of horrific algae blooms that have been discharged to the ocean. Lake Okeechobee was known to Florida’s Seminole Indians as “Oki Chubi,” which means “Big Water.” The Waterway’s Origins In the late 1800s, developers began plans to connect Lake Okeechobee to the headwaters of the Caloosahatchee River. Here’s what you need to know about the two most important issues facing the iconic Lake Okeechobee: Why Does Lake Okeechobee Have Discharges? All of this work directly supports the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Act, the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program or the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. The lake's health was threatened in recent decades by excessive nutrients from agricultural and urban activities in the lake's watershed, by harmful high and low water levels and by the spread of exotic vegetation. This will reduce harmful releases of Lake Okeechobee water to Florida’s coasts and send the water to the Everglades and Florida Bay where it’s desperately needed. Following their arrival, each would “fix a drink” and position themselves on the north shore of the lake. The lake provides flood protection and attracts boating and recreation enthusiasts from around the world. In the 1980s, phosphorus load was believed to be the limiting factor, but there is so much legacy phosphorus already in the lake now, it is sufficient to feed an algal bloom even without the additional annual loading. Nobody wants that. Lake Okeechobee, despite being Florida's largest freshwater lake and covering an area of 730 square miles, has an … In Lake Okeechobee, an airboat is used for a variety of activities. It’s an incredible lake, but it’s had a lot of problems and it wasn’t properly funded for years. Lake Okeechobee has high amount of Phosphorus which poses danger to the fragile ecosystem. Forests of pond apple trees once dominated the southern rim of the lake, but by 1930, ninety-five percent of them had been removed to make way for farmland and water-level management. True to its name, Lake Okeechobee is 748 square miles in size. This spurred the second highest phosphorus inflow on record and spawned the disastrous 2018 cyanobacteria blooms that left blue-green algae on Florida’s east and west coast beaches. The types of watershed projects include cause-effect experimental research, observational studies, modeling, and feasibility and assessment studies. Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) is a 143-mile earthen dam that surrounds Lake Okeechobee, the heart of … While investigating facts about Lake Okeechobee Water Level and Lake Okeechobee Map, I found out little known, but curios details like:. The issue being investigated is the racial segregation in the American society in 1920s, based on the events of the Lake Okeechobee hurricane. The Lake Okeechobee Protection Program is a phased, comprehensive and innovative program. Eighty years later, Audubon continues protecting these 29,000 acres of marsh areas. More must be done to manage the nutrients flowing into the lake. Each worked as a computer engineer and at the time of the incident were working on “an important product for a big client”. The Florida Legislature enacted the 2000 Lake Okeechobee Protection Act and the subsequent Lake Okeechobee Protection Program to restore the lake and its watershed. Lake Okeechobee, located at approximately 27 o N latitude and 81 o W longitude (Fig. It can be used for fishing, vegetation control, hunting, and of course, airboat adventures. Wetland communities fill almost one-third of the lake, providing prime habitat for Everglade snail kites, a variety of wading birds, ducks, game fish and other species. Bringing Lake Okeechobee back to full health is the key to a fully restored Greater Everglades Ecosystem with both water management and water quality playing integral roles. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. The healthy lake had so much birdlife that Audubon funded armed wardens beginning in 1936 to protect its iconic wading birds. Lake Okeechobee has long functioned as both a water supply source and a disposal basin. But, Jennifer Hecker with the Conservancy of … Really young largemouth bass under 2 inches are referred to as “fry.” These little guys feed on zooplankton, small shrimp, insect larvae before they grow up into largemouth bass predators. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages Lake Okeechobee water levels for five purposes: flood control, water supply, navigation, recreation and the preservation of fish and wildlife resources. While Lake Okeechobee is an attraction just because of its size, another reason is the large bass that inhabit it. Lake Okeechobee provides natural habitat for fish, wading birds and other wildlife, and it supplies essential water for people, farms and the environment. The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was fought between 800 troops under the command of Colonel Zachary Taylor, and about half that many Seminole warriors led by Billy Bowlegs, Abiaca and Alligator on Christmas Day, 1837. Bringing Lake Okeechobee back to full health is the key to a fully restored Greater Everglades Ecosystem with both water management and water quality playing integral roles. Audubon scientists recommend a balanced approach that protects people, wildlife, and Okeechobee’s 150 square miles of marshes. But it didn’t always used to be that way. The lake is also is critical for the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, is a migratory stopover for millions of bird,and hosts a significant percent of wading bird nesting in the state. Lake Okeechobee has high amount of Phosphorus which poses danger to the fragile ecosystem. The Lake Okeechobee hurricane resulted to a storm that breached the 35-foot high dike that had been constructed around the lake to facilitate farming. Lake Okeechobee is important to nearly everyone in South Florida and the Corps’ operating manual for the lake should reflect this and balance everyone’s concerns. In recent years, Lake Okeechobee has both reached a new historic low as a result of drought and lack of water conservation measures and has reached high water levels that required the discharge of harmful pulses of freshwater to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. Sometimes referred to as Florida's inland sea, Lake Okeechobee is central to a region of Florida historically known for its agriculture, but in recent times also equated with superior fishing, boating and trails. While investigating facts about Lake Okeechobee Water Level and Lake Okeechobee Map, I found out little known, but curios details like:. A highly visible new case recently developed in Florida, where a particularly intense bloom of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) formed in Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in the state. Okeechobee is a Seminole Indian word meaning “great water cannot see the other side”. Hurricane Irma’s rains flooded the lake with water from the nutrient-rich area. The Seminole warriors were resisting forced relocation to a reservation in Oklahoma. Audubon experts believe the new plan must include new projects, significant funding, and a combination of regulation enforcement and landowner incentives. The Army Corps of Engineers prefers low water levels for the safety of the Herbert Hoover Dike, which protects communities south of the lake from flooding. The parcel, sub-basin, and regional treatment levels are directly linked, and all relate to the goal of rehabilitating the tributary and lake ecosystem. Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program 3. A farmer south of the lake can explain why it is important as a source of irrigation water. Help secure the future for birds at risk from climate change, habitat loss and other threats. Storage and treatment south of Lake Okeechobee is critical in order to improve freshwater flows southward to the Everglades and to Florida Bay. This safety-vs-water supply conundrum creates a tug-of-war that hurts the lake and the estuaries. This, coupled with a shrunken Everglades footprint and manmade changes to the watershed, is why Everglades restoration envisions additional water storage projects north, east, south and west of the lake. Lake Okeechobee water begins moving through the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, in Martin County. Better Management of Nutrient Pollution is Essential. In the 1980s, phosphorus load was believed to be the limiting factor, but there is so much legacy phosphorus already in the lake now, it is sufficient to feed an algal bloom even without the additional annual loading. Now scientists and policy experts, not wardens, continue Audubon’s fight to protect the liquid heart of America’s Everglades. This is a popular vessel used in search and rescue – specifically during floods or similar calamities. And, in 1938, Florida’s Governor and Cabinet designated two areas on Lake Okeechobee as Wildlife Sanctuaries and entrusted Audubon with their protection. What exactly is the Herbert Hoover Dike and why is it important? A lake with problems. It is used as the water supply for industry, municipalities, agricultural irrigation, regional groundwater control, and salinity control in estuaries. This, in turn, affects the food chain and also … Lake Okeechobee is the second largest fresh water lake in the US. WHY: Okeechobee County is committed to ensuring the safety of its citizens, and we are asking residents to monitor the weather and stay alert for any possible changes. With a surface area of 730 square miles, it is the largest lake in the southeastern United States. This range will provide larger freeboard against incoming storms, thus resulting in fewer discharges to the estuaries and reduced pressure on the dike. West Palm Beach, FL 33406, Ecosystem Restoration - Projects and Programs, Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program, South Miami-Dade Water Issues Coordination Initiative, Real-Time Data (water conditions, status of gates), Lake Okeechobee Water Level History and Projected Stages [PDF], Lake Okeechobee Stage-Area-Capacity (LOSAC), Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule Technical Summaries, North Shore Lake Okeechobee Navigation Lock Operation Criteria [PDF], Army Corps of Engineers Lake Okeechobee Report, Army Corps of Engineers Lake Okeechobee Website, Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan Update – March 2014 [PDF], Water Quality Improvement/Stormwater Treatment Areas, Role of Lake Okeechobee in the Greater Everglades ecosystem [PDF], Impacts of excessive phosphorus entering the lake, Impacts of extreme high and low water levels. The lake is quite iconic, given its largemouth bass fishery, which extends up to 730 water miles.To fish on such a vast water body could be quite tasking given its immense diversity and habitat quality. Though both the … During the last century, agricultural and urban development in the watershed and the construction of the Central and South Florida Project for flood control have caused excessive nutrient inputs. About half of the watershed is cattle ranches, and the rest is mixed with citrus, dairy farms, row crops, and small towns. February 3, 2016 by Jesse Schultz There are many well-known areas on Lake Okeechobee that are commonly talked about around the docks before and after each event, but five key spots in particular will certainly play a role in this month’s Costa FLW Series and FLW Tour openers. But if the water in the lake gets too high, the ancient dike around the lake could crack and water could pour out, inundating the towns around the lake. 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