Small businesses meeting to discuss water impact

Posted at 8:58 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-25 13:34:53-05

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- Lake Okeechobee water releases are making a splash and negatively impacting Southwest Florida businesses.  So Tuesday, local small businesses are meeting to discuss the impact at the Franklin Lock and Dam where all the brown water is being released into the Caloosahatchee River.

Right now there are about four billion gallons of water are pouring through the lock a day. And it's not only affecting everyone down river, but those that live by the lake too.

Discussion has even made its way up to the nation's capitol, with three of Lee County's mayors visiting there.  Monday, mayors Randy Henderson of Fort Myers, Marni Sawicki of Cape Coral, and Kevin Ruane of Sanibel met with lawmakers and staff from Senator Marco Rubio's office.   Items on the agenda included water resource reform, and repairs to the aging Hoover Dike.

But environmentalists in Southwest Florida say it's going to take more than that and it would include argricultural sugar lands south of the lake.  "Before they were sugar they were part of the everglades ecosystem. We cannot fix this problem without buying back some of that land for additional conveyance and storage of fresh water."

The Army Corps of Engineers say they have no plans to reduce the amount of water being dumped from Lake Okeechobee until the water management district can come up with a better idea on how much rain the region is expected to see over the next two months.

Meanwhile the meeting with local businesses at Franklin Lock in Alva to discuss the economic impact will be happening at 10am.