Update: 4:25pm – Chris Grisby and photographer Cat Chase filed their report:
Breaking News: The Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance have issued notice of intent to sue over federal Endangered Species Act violations.
Their letter delivered this morning to the U.S. Army Corps of engineers, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Services cites several violations surrounding the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS).
These groups assert that federal management decisions and discharges of nutrient polluted waters from Lake Okeechobee likely exacerbated red tide algae blooms. Red tide, or karenia brevis, is responsible for wreaking havoc on Florida’s coastal wildlife throughout 2018. A historic amount of fish, marine mammals and aquatic birds have died on Florida’s Gulf and Atlantic coasts–a horrific event likely fueled by pollution and poorly planned water management decisions. Ground zero for these biological impacts have been at the mouths of the system’s man-made discharge points–the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie waterways. Excess water released from Lake Okeechobee has also often been loaded with toxic-producing cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), causing human health concerns.
The advocacy groups’ challenge cites unlawful opinions and conclusions carried out by federal agencies in both 2015 and 2018. It also asserts the apparent intent of the Army Corps to continue operating under the current Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (first established in 2008) through the year 2025.
For Truth Media will have more information on this action as it becomes available. The groups’ press release is available here.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Calusa Waterkeeper is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the Caloosahatchee River & Estuary, Lake Okeechobee, Nicodemus Slough, Charlotte Harbor, Estero Bay, the near-shore waters of Lee County, and their watersheds, through education and promotion of responsible use and enjoyment by all people. For more information please visit https://www.facebook.com/CalusaWaterkeeper/ and Calusawaterkeeper.org.
Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change. The Waterkeeper movement patrols and protects over 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa. For more information please visit waterkeeper.org.