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Sanibel mayor writes letter asking for immediate relief from lake water discharges

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 09:38:02-04

SANIBEL, Fla. - A new effort is underway to stop the water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Mayor Kevin Ruane wrote a letter that asks for immediate relief.

The South Florida Water Management District put together a plan to improve just how much and when they could discharge water in the Caloosahatchee River.

They said it will protect endangered species, restore wetlands and improve the water supply.

Mayor Ruane explained the water will be stored north of the lake. It'll help manage water levels because it will prevent some of the water from even reaching it. Early estimates are that it could reduce discharges by 67 percent.

Ruane was concerned with how the brown water from the releases would impact how visitors see the island.

Kristen Gunsallus and her daughter visited from Georgia. Gunsallus said that she noticed the water quality worsen since she's been in town.

"The water was beautiful and clear on Monday," she said. "It's been a lot murkier the past few days," she added.

A few other visitors reported that they saw fish kills as they walked along the shoreline.

"We saw some dead fish on the beach either direction you walk," Gary West said. "It's kind of unusual what we're used to seeing down here," he added.

Ruane hopes action will follow his letter to keep both the people and wildlife happy.

There will be a public meeting June 18th at the Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.