Water-Related News

Governor propose increasing Lake O water discharge to Everglades National Park

To avoid what officials call a potential wildlife disaster, Gov. Rick Scott is asking for federal help getting rid of rising waters threatening Everglades animals in western Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

A rainier-than-usual winter, fueled by the El NiƱo weather pattern, has boosted South Florida waters from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades.

That has water levels in the Everglades water conservation areas in Broward and Miami-Dade rising enough to wipe out tree islands that provide the high ground that deer, wading birds, panthers and other Everglades animals need to survive.

The governor on Thursday proposed loosening federal limits on draining water into Everglades National Park in order to move more water out of the Everglades conservation areas that stretch across western Broward and Miami-Dade.

The goal is "to avert a wildlife disaster" without flooding South Florida communities and farmland in the process, said Peter Antonacci, South Florida Water Management District executive director.

In addition, lowering water levels in the conservation areas could create more room to move water south out of swollen Lake Okeechobee, which poses a flooding risk to South Florida if lake waters rise too high.