Stuart business owners facing challenges due to Lake Okeechobee water releases

The Impact of Lake Okeechobee Discharges on Boat Cleaning Services in Stuart and Beyond

The murky waters of Lake Okeechobee are causing a decline in business for boat cleaning services like Barracuda Dive Service, owned by Russell Singson in Stuart, Fla. Singson stated that the discharges have significantly reduced visibility underwater, making it difficult for divers to do their work efficiently. This has led to smaller paychecks and delays in completing boat cleanings, with many boats remaining in late status.

Similarly, At the Helm Training, located along the St. Lucie River, has seen a 50% decrease in bookings compared to the previous year due to concerns about water cleanliness. Operations Manager Nancy Husk emphasized that clients are avoiding water-related activities due to fears of the water quality, recalling the severe algae bloom in 2018.

Both Singson and Husk hope for a change in the Army Corps of Engineers’ approach to water releases from Lake Okeechobee, with the anticipation of a plan to reduce discharges and improve water quality. The businesses in Stuart are hopeful that these changes will be implemented soon to mitigate the negative impacts on the local economy and community.

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