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THIS IS THEIR
To Reduce Harmful Lake Okeechobee Discharges
Support EAA Reservoir Project
OUR ECOMONY: LET THE FACTS UNITE US
*2016 study by Black Hills State University and the University
of Florida’s Tourism Crisis Management Initiative
**Employment data from the Florida Department of Economic
Opportunity (as reported by Visit Florida)
***2015 study by the Florida Realtors’ Association
****Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce and Greater
Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce 2013 Survey
*****Economic Contributions of Marine Industries in Southwest Florida,
Indian River Lagoon Valuation Update, and Economic Impact
of the Recreational Marine Industry in South Florida
According to research produced in part by the University of Florida...Over half of possible visitors to Florida are concerned enough by the spread of harmful algae blooms to delay or alter their travel plans.*
Massive fish kills and manatee deaths are linked to harmful blue-green algae caused by Lake Okeechobee water discharges. Releases kill off juvenile oyster beds and seagrasses, which serve as nursery, feeding and shelter areas for marine life including manatees.
OUR HEALTH: EVIDENCE FOR CONCERN
The health impacts of algae blooms and red tide include respiratory issues, skin irritation and nausea. Expansive algae blooms, caused by dirty outflow from Lake Okeechobee, led Florida Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency in four Florida counties for 242 days in 2016.
OUR ENVIRONMENT: AN ASSET WE MUST PROTECT
Below you will find sources to the facts presented here, as well as additional news and information about harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and the solutions presented by the Florida legislature.
KNOW YOUR FACTS
FLORIDA WATERS IN THE NEWS
CALLS FOR SUPPORT
The discharge of water from Lake Okeechobee impacts Florida’s economy, health and environment.
• Gov. Scott declared a state of emergency in four Florida counties for 242 days in 2016
• National news coverage about the fallout harms the Florida brand statewide
• Documented economic impacts, particularly in tourism, real estate and sport fishing industries
• Releases kill off juvenile oyster beds and seagrasses, which serve as nursery, feeding and shelter areas for marine life including manatees
• Harmful algae blooms and red tide caused by nutrient pollution infect estuaries and coastal waterways
• Residents and visitors experience the health impacts of algae blooms and red tide, including respiratory issues, skin irritation and nausea
• Residents and visitors witness wildlife death toll, including massive fish kills and manatee deaths, due to harmful blue-green algae
The EAA Reservoir is one of the original Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects. A critical part of the solution to a complex water quality problem, the EAA Reservoir will provide needed water storage, treatment and conveyance south of Lake Okeechobee. According to analysis by the Everglades Foundation, this proposed southern storage will reduce discharges by at least 50%, and could eliminate the need for discharges entirely, depending on the rainfall in a given year.
The benefits of this plan include:
• More naturally mimics water flow of the historic Everglades and improves conditions in Florida Bay
• Provides an alternative source of water to reduce competition for water supply and benefits Florida businesses
• Protects the ecosystem and fisheries of Lake Okeechobee by creating more natural water level changes
• Creates recreational opportunities for tourism – fishing, hunting and bird watching
• Uses funds from Florida’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund, which was overwhelmingly backed by Florida voters to support this critical project with money that is already dedicated for the Everglades
• Supported by the vast majority of scientists and experts
• Creates temporary and permanent jobs in the Glades and protects jobs throughout Florida
TO REDUCE HARMFUL LAKE OKEECHOBEE DISCHARGES
Unfortunately, the effect of last year is still hovering over us and affecting the economy on our island. Hotel bookings are inconsistent, restaurants have open tables and visitors are still asking, ‘How is the water?’
– Jacki Liszak, President, Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, and owner of the Sea Gypsy Inn on Fort Myers Beach
People from all walks of life are telling Tallahassee to #SendCleanWaterSouth – Share your support on social media!
It’s hard to separate the economics and the ecology in Florida. I care about growth, and the economy is tied to the environment.
– Tim Thompson, Florida small business owner, recreational fisherman and concerned citizen
YOUR STORIES INSPIRE ACTION
It doesn’t matter what business you are in, everybody relies on clean water. The majority of people in Florida live here by choice, because of the beautiful environment. The economy is driven by the environment.
– Henley Shotwell, Florida small business owner, recreational fisherman and concerned citizen
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