Stuart business owners feeling effects of Lake Okeechobee water discharges

The Impact of Discharges on Local Businesses: Diver’s Perspective

Diver Russell Singson of Barracuda Dive Service in Stuart has been struggling with decreased visibility in the water due to discharges from Lake Okeechobee. This makes it difficult for him and other divers to complete their work efficiently. Singson mentioned that business has been affected, leading to smaller paychecks and delays in servicing boats.

Nancy Husk, operations manager of At the Helm Training located down the St. Lucie River, shares Singson’s concerns about the impact of the discharges on the water’s cleanliness. They have seen a significant decrease in bookings for training sessions due to worries about the current water conditions. Husk highlighted how younger clients are hesitant to rent boats and engage in water activities because of the murky waters caused by the discharges.

Both Singson and Husk are hopeful that changes can be made to reduce the discharges into their area. Singson mentioned that they have a plan in progress to release less water in their direction, and he is optimistic that this will come to fruition soon. Husk emphasized the importance of addressing this issue before it escalates into severe algae blooms, similar to what occurred in 2018, which could harm local businesses and deter visitors from enjoying the area.

Singson owns Barracuda Dive Service and has been working every day as a diver to clean boats underneath in Stuart for several years now. He noticed that his business has been struggling due to discharges from Lake Okeechobee causing murky waters that make it difficult for divers like him to see clearly underwater.

According to Singson, decreased visibility has affected his business negatively leading to smaller paychecks and delays in servicing boats.

Nancy Husk is an operations manager at At The Helm Training located downstream from Lake Okeechobee. She shared her concerns about how these discharges affect not only her own business but also others who rely on clean water for their livelihoods.

Husk stated that they have seen a significant decrease in bookings for training sessions due mainly because people worry about getting sick or injured while swimming or kayaking with murky waters.

Both Singson and Husk believe that if changes are made now by reducing discharges into their areas, it could prevent further harm caused by algae blooms as seen during 2018’s harmful algal bloom (HAB).


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