ESTERO, Fla. — Ahead of President Trump's visit to Lake Okeechobee on Friday, students with the new water school at Florida Gulf Coast University said they hope his visit will bring change.
"I think it's great that we have a large scale public figure coming down here to sort of highlight on our current water quality issues that we have," said Taylor Hancock, a Graduate Student at FGCU.
Professor Greg Tolley leads the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at the University. He says he hopes the president will engage local leaders in the issues related to Lake Okeechobee water quality, not just its structure.
"Repair and maintenance of the Herbert Hoover Dike is very very important in terms of public safety," he said. ""We're also looking at improvements that can store water so that we don't have these extreme releases to our Western and Eastern estuaries."
According to congress, right now, proposed funding for is $130 million less than what lawmakers requested, but they have the discretion to make the requested budget a reality.
"That funding needs to be fully implemented for us to see the improvements that we really need to change the water quality conditions here on the West coast," said Tolley.
Phoebe Clark, a Masters Student at at FGCU, said, "Whether it's actually bringing in new funding or bringing in a new proposal, or if it's just that media coverage that we need to get people rallied around the idea of conservation, preservation, restoration and helping to restore the environment to it's naturally functioning system so that we can all live a much better life."