Dr. Paul Gray, Audubon of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee expert, (center) with SFWMD Governing Board Chair Eric Buermann (L) and Governing Board Member Kevin Powers
Audubon’s Lake Okeechobee expert, Dr. Paul Gray, attended the groundbreaking today, June 18, 2010, for the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA), located on the northeast shore of Lake Okeechobee.
Hosted by the South Florida Water Management District, the groundbreaking launches a project that is part of the Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan. The STA is designed to clean water before it flows into the Lake. When completed, this $70 million project will be a 2,000-acre (about three square miles) artificial wetland, projected to be able to remove around 19 tons of phosphorus per year, along with excess nitrogen and other pollutants. Once it is functioning, the STA will be essential to restoring Lake Okeechobee. Audubon applauds the cooperative work of state and federal agencies to complete it, even in these difficult budget times.