FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Students and community activists rallied Monday to spread awareness about the damage caused by water releases from Lake Okeechobee to Southwest Florida waters.
"It's been an ongoing issue for quite some time," said student activist Brittany Jacobs. "Florida residents aren't educated on the way our waters actually manage."
The activists said the murky water being pumped into the Caloosahatchee River is having disastrous effects on estuaries in Southwest Florida. "I see the dead fish," said Wyler Gins, a local fisherman. "When I go to these fishing spots, I use to fish all the time and catch fish at, that were filled with long healthy sea grass, it's all sand now because all the sea grass has died."
Guests at the rally included former county commissioners, and Florida State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen.
She said the solution to the problem is to move the water south, to the Everglades. "We want to limit releases that are going to our estuaries, and I have recently come out in favor of making a purchase of land south of the lake, so that we can store water, clean water, and move water south."
She said the plan would not only limit the water damaging marine life in Southwest Florida estuaries, but also help the Everglades by lowering salinity levels. "We've got a lot of good things in place, but we need to do more in order to have a real long-term solution," said Fitzenhagen.