Water-Related News

House OKs WRDA water bill that would help reduce Lake Okeechobee releases. Now what?

The U.S. House Wednesday approved a water bill that includes several measures to help clean the polluted St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon, whose seagrass loss has sparked an unprecedented manatee die-off.

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) includes a "comprehensive roadmap" to end Lake Okeechobee discharges, plus six other measures specific to Treasure Coast waterways. It passed with a 384-37 vote and awaits Senate approval.

If Congress approves WRDA, the Army Corps of Engineers would be required to build more infrastructure to further reduce Lake O discharges that can carry toxic algae, pollutants that feed blooms and damaging freshwater to brackish estuaries.

Even then, achieving zero discharges would take years.