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Desantis gives Southwest Florida water quality update in Fort Myers

Posted at 9:36 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 21:44:51-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis was at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers today to give an update on local water quality issues resulting from Lake Okeechobee releases.

MORE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis 'concerned' with Lake Okeechobee water level

Earlier this week, the Governor toured Lake Okeechobee and impacted waterways in Southwest Florida to experience the effects of the releases first-hand.

The Governor confirmed the presence of algae in the lake. He also discussed concerns over the lake's current level and impending Summer rains adding more pressure for additional releases.

DeSantis said new water management plans and infrastructure projects are coming online in the years ahead as a result of his efforts.

In the meantime, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will settle on a new regulation schedule called Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM). DeSantis called on the USACE for a more balanced approach to releases to lessen the impact on the environment and coastal communities.

MORE: Water groups plea for algae action from Gov. DeSantis as more blooms appear in SWFL waterways

DeSantis believes issuing a State of Emergency would do more harm than good by unnecessarily keeping locals and tourists from visiting beaches. He also explained that the order simply opens the availability of wider resources like additional funds and technology, which he already has access to.

Declaring an emergency does not give the Governor's Office control over the releases. That responsibility would remain with the federal government and USACE.