Murky Waters: The Impact of Lake Okeechobee Discharges on Local Water-Based Businesses and Younger Clients in South Florida

Stuart business owners feeling effects of Lake Okeechobee water discharges

Diver Russell Singson, owner of Barracuda Dive Service in Stuart, suits up every day to clean boats beneath the murky waters caused by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The discharges have made it challenging for divers like Singson to see clearly underwater and complete their work efficiently. Singson shared that his business has been suffering due to the decreased visibility, leading to smaller paychecks and delays in servicing boats.

Nancy Husk, operations manager of At the Helm Training located down the St. Lucie River, echoes Singson’s concerns. They have seen a significant decrease in bookings for training sessions due to worries about the cleanliness of the water stemming from the discharges. Husk highlighted how younger clients are hesitant to rent boats and engage in water activities due to the current water conditions.

Both Singson and Husk are hopeful that changes will be implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce discharges into their area. Singson mentioned that they are working on a plan to release less water in their direction, while Husk emphasized the need for immediate action before it leads to severe algae blooms similar to what occurred in 2018. This could further harm local water-based businesses and deter visitors from enjoying the area.

Singson’s business has been affected by discharges from Lake Okeechobee, causing murky waters that make it difficult for divers like him to see underwater clearly. The decreased visibility has led to smaller paychecks and delays in servicing boats.

Nancy Husk, operations manager at At the Helm Training located downstream of Lake Okeechobee, also expressed her concerns about the impact of these discharges on their business. She shared how young clients are hesitant to rent boats or engage in other water activities due to concerns about water quality.

Both Singson and Husk are optimistic that changes will be made by the Army Corps of Engineers to reduce discharges into their area. However, they emphasized that immediate action is needed before severe algae blooms occur again as they did in 2018.

The decreased visibility caused by murky waters resulting from Lake Okeechobee discharges has affected both Russell Singson’s business at Barracuda Dive Service and Nancy Husk’s operations at At the Helm Training.

Younger clients are hesitant

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