Water-Related News

Reservoirs won't help algae problem, commissioner, scientist agree

PUNTA GORDA — A reservoir that a prominent biologist says may do little to help the Everglades is poised for federal funding, while Charlotte County’s septic-to-sewer projects got bumped off the list.

Greg Burns, a Washington lobbyist working for the county, presented the results of federal legislation to the Charlotte County Commission recently. Burns reassured the board that Florida’s U.S. legislators will work to get the county’s requested $16 million back in the federal program by 2020.

“They were not happy in the end,” he said of the Florida delegation in Washington. “We were closer this time.”

The reservoir project is expected to cost the state and federal government $1.6 billion.

Later that day, University of Miami Professor Larry Brand spoke on harmful algae to a Sierra Club chapter at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Of the new reservoir promised by federal legislators, Brand predicted that the project will not do much to reduce the cyanobacteria coming out of Lake Okeechobee in the rainy season.

The man-made marshes that go along will help a little, he said, but the pollutant nitrogen is difficult to remove. Brand was among the first scientists to sound the alarm on nitrogen pollution more than 10 years ago.

“It will become a little Lake Okeechobee,” he said of the reservoir.