News Cast 7/20

News Cast for July 20th:

Lake plan both praised and criticized 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided on option CC for the next Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule. 

It will impact the managing of the lake for the next 10 years. 

Highlights of the plan include reducing releases to the St. Lucie Estuary. It would also keep lake levels higher on average. 

More releases would be sent out the Caloosahatchee and the amount of water sent south will increase by 300%. 

Commander Colonel Andrew Kelly explained why they went with this option. 

“All of the plans had balanced components to it.  CC performed second or third best in 10 of 11 metrics and how it performed across the board made the most sense to the Corps.” 

Newton Cook said he feels none of the plans will help Lake Okeechobee. 

“This is the best of the worst plan.  When the lake is above 17.5 feet its bad, the lake is damaged at 15 feet.  If it stays at that level more than 30 days the vegetation dies.  We will have a lake of suspended muck water if we are not careful.” 

State moves to preserve more land for Panther, other species 

The state moved toward further preservation and purchase of our ranchlands with the governor signing the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act. 

They pledge to spend $400 million in land preservation this year. 

Much of the land is in the middle of the state and protects the habitat of the Florida Panther, bears and other species. 

Famed wildlife photographer Carlton Ward said Florida is setting a good example for other states. 

“Florida is leading the country in land preservation programs.  We will be a national and global example for what is possible for nature and the economy to work.” 

He took part in a 100 day, 1,000 mile expedition in 2012 to prove that Florida could have a connected corridor that could be preserved into the future.