U.S. Water News Online
PALM BEACH, Florida -- Cleaning Lake Okeechobee, which sits
at the heart of the Everglades, could cost $1.1 billion and involve
creating reservoirs and marshes and possibly dredging the polluted
lake bottom, water officials said.
The estimate, about triple one made in 2004, includes more
strategies to handle the greater pollution in the lake due to recent
active hurricane seasons, the South Florida Water Management District
The plan also includes expenses for helping farmers curb runoff
containing manure and fertilizer.
"If we don't do this, our lake's going to die and our estuaries
are going to die," said Paul Gray, of the environmental organization
Audubon of Florida.
The district's board voted to send the cleanup plan to the
Legislature, which must decide how to pay for it.
The lake's polluted waters can be sent through canals into the
fragile wetlands when lake levels rise. The Okeechobee cleanup cost
is separate from the estimated $10.5 billion federal and state
Everglades marshland restoration plan.
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