I am with a group of citizens in Okeechobee County Florida who are attempting to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) from destroying cypress and palm trees along the 429 miles of canals, which feed/support Lake Okeechobee.
The history of USACE as far as protecting the environment has been proven not to be in the best interest of the citizens who conduct business, or the wellbeing of those who use the lake for leisure/quality of life. The Kissimmee River is the lifeblood of Lake O. During the 1960's/70's USACE evaluated the River with all of the natural curves and using "science" decided that this river should be straightened out. What happened next, without the natural God-given curves, all the chemicals/septic tank waste, etc. from Orlando south, had no filtering, dumping straight into Lake O.
In a short period of time, these pollutants have caused irreputable damage to the lake environment, contributing to the well documented algae blooms/phosphorus and nitrogen rise. USACE was forced to reevaluate its original "science" based decision and are in stages, beginning to put the God-given curves back into the Kissimmee River. Citizens residing from Orlando to Miami are dependent on Lake O for their water supply.
What I would like for you to do:
Time cannot be wasted. South Florida depends on Lake Okeechobee for water sustainability. These trees are coming down now at a rapid rate.
The citizens group, "Make Lake O Great Again," would like for you to come to God's country and observe for yourself the destruction at the hands of USACE.
I have contacted all Florida Senators/Congressman/Governor, with no response. Filed an environmental complaint with EPA. Contacted USACE public relations, with no response. The Okeechobee County Commissioners stated that they have no jurisdiction over USACE property. Local news, Channel 5, Lake Okeechobee News and radio have published articles, but without a higher level of pressure, the destruction is continuing. Okeechobee County L-47 (rim canal) is just the first step.
USACE has agreed not to take down the cypress trees. However, USACE states that the plan will continue to remove all sabal/cabbage palms from the west side of the dike. USACE reason for the removal of said trees is because the sabal/cabbage palms interfere with the integrity of the dike. The urgency for removing these trees is due to hurricane season. Please note, that these trees have been in the same location for 40-50 years ... MANY Hurricanes!