Stuart Business Owners Feeling Effects of Lake Okeechobee Water Releases

Boat cleaners in Stuart are facing challenges due to the murky water caused by Lake Okeechobee discharges. Diver Russell Singson, owner of Barracuda Dive Service, shared videos comparing the clear water in January to the murky water caused by the lake discharges that began in mid-February. This has resulted in smaller paychecks for his divers as they are unable to clean as many boats in a day. Singson is also concerned about sanitation after diving in the darker water.

On the other side of the St. Lucie River, At The Helm Training is also facing challenges due to water quality issues. Operations Manager Nancy Husk mentioned that their bookings are down by 50% compared to last year, attributing it to concerns about the cleanliness of the water. Clients have expressed worries about participating in boating activities due to these concerns.

Husk is concerned about continued discharges and recalls the severe algae bloom in 2018. She fears that if the discharges persist, it will deter younger clients who enjoy renting boats and visiting sandbars. Despite these challenges, Russell Singson remains hopeful that the Army Corps of Engineers will adjust their approach to reduce the impact of the discharges on both boat cleaners and visitors alike.

By Riley Johnson

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