Today I share an excerpt form “Conclusions of the Special Project to Prevent the Eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee Relevant to the Management Determination for the Everglades Agricultural Area,” Draft Report, State of Florida 1975. It is important that historical information like this is available to the public. It is mind-boggling that in 2023, seventy years since 1953, the issue of eutrophication of Lake Okeechobee has only worsened. Every year the estuaries are plagued by the threat of discharged toxic algae. Reports like this one lie buried in Florida’s state archives in Tallahassee. Most legislators have probably never read it. What has been done to improve water quality is not enough.
Lake Okeechobee is presently enriched and moderately eutrophic. If the present trend of increasing nutrient loads from the drainage basins is not reversed, the lake could become hyper-eutrophic within the foreseeable future.
The following research evidence is proffered in support of Finding I.
- In 1953, Dr. H. T. Odum sampled the phosphorus content of Lake Okeechobee and tributaries to the lake. Although not enough samples were taken to have statistical significance, the values of the samples were well below levels consider to be eutrophic.
In 1953, the lake’s watershed was essentially undeveloped. The fact that the lake had low phosphate values in the water column indicates that the lake was not eutrophic in 1953. Water quality samples taken since 1953 have all shown phosphorus values higher than those taken by Odum. This indicates that present levels of phosphorus in the lake result from man’s drainage and land-use practices in the drainage basins.
Finding II. to follow….