Stuart Business Owners Feeling Effects of Lake Okeechobee Water Releases

The Unseen Dangers: How Lack of Visibility Affects Divers and Boating Businesses in Stuart

In the waters below, diver Russell Singson braves the murky depths every day. He owns Barracuda Dive Service and has noticed that business in Stuart has taken a hit due to the discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The water has become so cloudy that visibility is almost non-existent, making it difficult for his divers to complete their tasks efficiently.

Singson shared videos comparing the clear water of January to the murky waters 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 also expressed concerns about sanitation after diving in the murky waters.

On the other side of the St. Lucie River, At the Helm Training is facing its own set of challenges. Operations Manager Nancy Husk stated that their bookings have decreased by 50% compared to last year, citing water quality issues as the reason behind this decline. Clients have expressed worries about the cleanliness of the water, which is impacting their willingness to participate in boating activities.

Husk is concerned about continued discharges and recalls the severe algae bloom of 2018. She fears that if these discharges persist, it will deter younger clients who enjoy renting boats and visiting sandbars, ultimately harming her business and others like it in the area. Despite these challenges, Singson remains hopeful that the Army Corps of Engineers will adjust their approach to reduce

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