Florida launches bloom hotline, Army to help with Lake OkeechobeeStaff writer ▼ | July 1, 2016
Following a directive from Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched a toll-free Bloom Reporting Hotline.
Emergency Affected businesses should complete a damage assessment
Reported information will be relayed to DEP, the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Yesterday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announced they will reduce the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into local waterways and estuaries beginning this weekend. Governor Scott expanded the emergency declaration to also include Lee and Palm Beach Counties.
Governor Scott said, "I appreciate the quick response of the Army Corps to reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee, which will bring much needed relief to Martin, St. Lucie, Lee and Palm Beach Counties.
"While this is an important first step, we cannot lose focus on the need for the federal government to immediately fund repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike so a long term solution can be achieved.
"Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will also immediately activate a virtual business emergency operations center to assess businesses impacted by algal blooms. Florida remains committed to using every available resource to address the needs of these communities following yesterday’s emergency declaration.”
DEO’s program will begin to survey businesses affected by the water releases and share the results with various state and local agencies to implement appropriate disaster relief programs.
Affected businesses should complete a Business Damage Assessment survey that will be used to determine which emergency support programs might be beneficial to aid recovery efforts in the area. ■