Maximizing flows south during the dry season will also help lower the level of the lake heading into the rainy season, which creates more capacity on the lake to take on summer rains before coastal discharges are required.
4 benefits of sending it south
At the end of the day, sending it south will benefit the entire South Florida ecosystem, including The Everglades, Florida Bay, the coastal estuaries, and Lake Okeechobee. Here’s how.
1. The Everglades
An excessively dry Everglades can damage habitat, release carbon, cause fires, and impact the health of the Biscayne Aquifer.
A properly hydrated Everglades keeps habitat healthy, stores massive amounts of carbon, and recharges the Biscayne Aquifer, a drinking water source for about nine million Floridians.
2. Florida Bay
Florida Bay is home to one of the largest contiguous seagrass meadows in the world, offering foundational habitat and another major carbon sink. Without proper freshwater flows from the Everglades, Florida Bay can become hypersaline, which can lead to algae blooms, seagrass die offs, and fish kills.
Adequate freshwater inflow from the Everglades—especially during the dry season—is important to maintaining a delicate-yet-critical salinity balance in Florida Bay, which safeguards the health of these vital seagrasses.