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Lake O dike funding won't solve algae problems right away

Posted at 12:28 AM, Jul 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-07 00:28:14-04

Repairs on the Herbert Hoover dike near Lake Okeechobee will be fast tracked after the Trump administration and congress approved 500 million dollars for the project.

Once completed, the lake will be able to store more water when levels get high, rather than sending it south through the Caloosahatchee River.  The excess water is causing algae build ups around Southwest Florida, including the canal behind Sharon Canady’s home in North Ft. Myers.

"The first time I came out, I thought maybe someone was painting their house, and they dropped green paint in the water,” she said.

It's not just North Ft. Myers, algae is creeping into Cape Coral, along the Veterans Bridge boat ramp and surrounding canals.

The issue prompted State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Ft .Myers) to ask Governor Rick Scott to declare Lee County a disaster area.

In a statement to 4-In-Your-Corner, the governor's office says it is dealing with the issue by:

“Ordering the Department of Environmental Protection to issue an emergency declaration to move more water south of the lake and installing water monitoring stations on the caloosahatchee river so water experts have more data to mitigate the problem."

Congressman Francis Rooney (R-Naples)  says the situation wouldn't be this bad, if his predecessors did something about it.

 “I ran for this job because no one was getting it done.  We need more money for these projects, and now we are going to get some, but it is still not an easy fix, this thing should have been dealt with from 2000 to 2006.”

Congressman Rooney says more reservoirs are need south of the lake to store excess water.