DEP Hosts Lake Okeechobee Restoration Plan Development Meeting

November 14, 2014

~Restoration plan identifies strategies to improve water quality~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection invites stakeholders — government representatives, scientists, environmental organizations, agricultural operators and others — to attend a meeting to discuss the draft Lake Okeechobee restoration plan. This is part of a series of meetings meant to develop and identify specific pollutant reductions necessary and strategies to improve the lake’s water quality.

WHAT:      Lake Okeechobee Restoration Plan Meeting

WHEN:      Tuesday, Nov. 18

                  10 a.m.

WHERE:    Williamson Conference and Education Center

                  2229 Northwest 9th Ave.

                  Okeechobee, FL 34972

“The restoration of Lake Okeechobee is at the heart of improving water quality for all of South Florida,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “The actions identified in this plan are a meaningful step toward that goal.”

The restoration plan, known as a basin management action plan or BMAP, is a plan with specific pollutant reduction projects and milestones. The Lake Okeechobee BMAP development process has been a collaborative effort between DEP, the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and other stakeholders. The BMAP includes a monitoring plan to keep track of progress and water quality. Periodic follow-up meetings will be conducted to keep track of ongoing projects and initiatives as well as to discuss future project planning. At this meeting, DEP representatives will discuss comments on and changes to the draft BMAP document.

Located in the heart of the greater Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades ecosystem, Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and the second largest freshwater lake within the contiguous United States. It is a valuable multipurpose lake, which provides drinking water for urban areas, irrigation water for agricultural lands, recharge for aquifers and freshwater for the Everglades. With an average depth of only 9 feet, it is vulnerable both to pollution from surrounding land uses and to flooding.

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