Humans: The most ‘harmful invasive’ of all? Human waste adds millions of pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen to Florida’s ecosystems

OKEECHOBEE — For decades, South Florida has been plagued by harmful invasive plants and animals that wreak havoc on the native ecosystems. Waterways are choked with hydrilla, originally imported from Asia for aquariums. Melaleuca, imported from Australia in a misguided plan to “drain the swamp,” grows so thick it squeezes out native vegetation and animals. […]

Tucker: Lies about lake must stop

WEST PALM BEACH — South Florida Water Management District Governing Board member Brandon Tucker blasted Congressman Brian Mast’s efforts to drastically lower the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule at the board’s Feb. 14 meeting at district headquarters in West Palm Beach. “Lowering the lake to 10.5 feet, in my opinion, is asinine,” he said. Rep. Mast, […]

Area residents encouraged to voice views on Lake Okeechobee level

CLEWISTON — John Boy Auditorium was packed Monday night with Lake Okeechobee area residents concerned about the U.S. Arny Corps of Engineers plan to write a new regulation schedule for the Big O. Gov. Ron Desantis and Congressman Brian Mast are lobbying for a lower lake schedule, which would set the minimum level at 10.5 […]

FWC listens to stakeholders regarding Lake Okeechobee aquatic plant program

OKEECHOBEE — Hundreds of anglers filled the Okeechobee Civic Center on Feb. 7 to ask for changes in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) aquatic plant management program. Concerns included allegations of over spraying of chemical herbicides, which kill native plants along with the invasives; lack of oversight of those spraying; build up of […]

Lake Okeechobee schedule should be based on science – not politics

OKEECHOBEE — Big Lake area residents Wednesday urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use science — not politics — to determine any changes to the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). The Williamson Conference Center at Indian River State College was packed to standing room only Feb. 6 for the Corps’ public scoping meeting […]

Mast blames lake for toxins in coastal waters

OKEECHOBEE — On Feb. 4, U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) introduced new legislation, called the Toxic Health Threat Warning Act, requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to notify affected communities about public health dangers “before discharging water contaminated with cyanobacteria.” Rep. Mast stated, “Our goal is no discharges, period. But right now, the Army […]

Okeechobee man dies when car hits tree

OKEECHOBEE — An Okeechobee man died early Sunday morning in after the car he was driving struck a tree. According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, around 2:17 a.m. on Feb. 3, Alfredo Renteria, 21, was driving a 2016 Honda Accord westbound on Northwest 36th Street approaching a left curve near Northwest 39th Circle, when […]

Meetings to discuss lake level, aquatic spraying

Two meetings planned this week in Okeechobee will collect public input on two issues of great concern to area fishermen: changes to the lake level schedule and control of invasive aquatic plants. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will host a meeting in the Indian River […]

Governor calls for lower lake

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is promoting a plan to lower the minimum level of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule to 10.5 feet. At a press conference at Florida Holiday Park on Jan. 28, the governor explained: “I have engaged with the president on him instructing the Army Corps to manage this lake differently than they […]

Lake area festival season is underway

A Ferris wheel lights up the Okeechobee skyline with the return of the American Legion Free Fair, under way now through Sunday, Feb. 3, on the American Legion Hall grounds, 501 S.E. Second St., Okeechobee. The fair (which has no admission fee but does charge for ride armbands), is in its 63rd year. Weeknights, the […]