Thursday, 24 May 2007 01:00
Trucking the MuckWritten by WGCU Newsroom
The on-going drought is taking its’ toll on Florida, especially Lake Okeechobee. But Water Management officials say there is a silver lining in this dark cloud.
The water level in Lake Okeechobee is at an all time low due to the drought. Areas that are normally three or four feet below water are now bone dry. South Florida Water Management District officials are taking advantage of this. Water managers along with the Environmental Protection Agency, are removing muck. That’s nutrient rich soil that has settled on the lake bed with disastrous consequences. It kills fish and underwater vegetation. There are six sites around the lake where workers are removing muck before the water levels come back up. Spokesman Randy Smith says the process shouldn’t take too long to finish.
“It’s a massive project but it goes relatively fast with the heavy equipment. We think a couple of months of work and we will complete this phase of restoring the lake bottom to its’ natural state."
Michael Shellen is a resident of the lakeside town of Buckhead and fisherman. He says this is a great project that will help the area.
“When they’re done the water will come back up…the natural plants that are supposed to be growing in this lake will come back…the fish will come back…the fishing is still terrific in this lake."
This phase of the clean up will pick up more than 500-thousand cubic yards of muck…enough to fill Joe Robby stadium. The cost is around eleven million dollars.