Let's reverse the damage being done to Lake Okeechobee

by Tona Bell August 06, 2018 2 min read

Ok so those of you who know me, know I love Florida SO MUCH. It is the coolest state and I love everything about it. I grew up here, I work here and enjoy all the best it has to offer. I am saddened by the recent images of Florida waterways and how bad things are getting. It is time to take action.

Let's all work to help reverse the damage to Florida waters. We love our home state and it is time to do something about it! This is a warning sign not just in Florida but for the whole United States and beyond.

Lake Okeechobee is Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the ninth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake (the largest being Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the contiguous United States. We can do better. I want to help educate everyone so we can all in our own way help our community, the state and the U.S. 

Mother earth is showing us the lack of thought and manmade chemicals and mess we continue to make. Let's all do better. Read below for some ideas. My garden club and letter writing club are going to take on some of these projects.

I wrote to the state for help to see what ACTION we can take. I want to share with you what she sent me:

Good morning,

I’ve spoken with a few of my colleagues and we all appreciate your interest and dedication to our waters especially Tampa Bay.

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is an excellent partner in your area.  We work with them a great deal and they have a lot of programs and resources for local governments as well as local citizens.  This website has helpful information.



The Department also provides funding for the Florida Friendly Landscaping program.  Information about that program is available at these links and is a great way that all of us can help our waters: 




In terms of local government support, the Department has funding opportunities for water quality related projects.  My division manages a lot of these funding programs and general information about those programs for local governments is found here: https://floridadep.gov/sites/default/files/DWRA_Brochure_0.pdf


One of our programs provides grants to local governments for stormwater and other pollution reduction projects that aren’t from “pipes” (called “non-point source”): https://floridadep.gov/wra/319-tmdl-fund


We provide grants and loans for wastewater and stormwater projects through our Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan program: https://floridadep.gov/wra/srf/content/cwsrf-program


Our division is also managing a grant program under the Governor’s Executive Order related to the harmful algal blooms in the southern part of the state.  That information is here in case that is helpful:



The Southwest Florida Water Management District also has programs in your area and is a good source of information.  Here are a couple of links to their resources:



I hope this is helpful and, again, I appreciate your interest and efforts.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like further information.


Trina Vielhauer


Division of Water Restoration Assistance

Florida DEP


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