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July 31, 2020 | Press Releases

Steube Secures Win For Lake Okeechobee and Florida Water

OKEECHOBEE, FLA. – U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today released the following statement after his request for mechanical harvesting language was included in this year’s appropriations package.

“This is a major victory for Florida water quality. For too long, we have over-relied on the continuous spraying of toxic chemicals in our lakes and waterways. The inclusion of this safe alternative to spraying will help Florida control invasive species without sacrificing the water quality of Lake Okeechobee and surrounding watersheds.”

Steube’s request was included in the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations package.

For decades, invasive species have inundated Lake Okeechobee. These species, like water lettuce, hydrilla, and water hyacinth, grow in large swaths of brush, making it difficult for boats to move through waterways. Often, the growth suffocates other vegetation, including native species that are essential to the lake’s ecosystem.

To address these problems, the state of Florida sprays herbicide chemicals from airboats in and around the lake. From algal blooms to polluted water, there have been unintended consequences as a result of this continued spraying, posing both short and long-term threats to the lake and surrounding communities.

Mechanical harvesting provides a safer alternative to help our state control invasive species without contaminating Lake Okeechobee and surrounding watersheds.

More information about mechanical harvesting can be found here.