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Water 2019, 11(2), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11020327

A Phased Assessment of Restoration Alternatives to Achieve Phosphorus Water Quality Targets for Lake Okeechobee, Florida, USA

1
Everglades Foundation, Science Department, 18001 Old Cutler Road Suite 625 Palmetto Bay, FL 33157, USA
2
Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 February 2019 / Published: 14 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lake and River Restoration: Method, Evaluation and Management)
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Abstract

Achieving total phosphorus (TP) total maximum daily loads (TMDL) for Lake Okeechobee (Florida, FL, USA), a large freshwater lake, is a key component of the greater Everglades ecosystem restoration and sustainability of south Florida. This study was aimed at identification of a cost-effective restoration alternative using four TP control strategies—Best Management Practices (BMPs), Dispersed Water Management (DWM), Wetland Restoration, and Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs)—to achieve a flow-weighted mean TP concentration of 40 µg/L at lake inflow points, through a phased scenario analysis approach. The Watershed Assessment Model was used to simulate flow and phosphorus dynamics. The 10-year (1998–2007) ‘Base’ scenario calibration indicated ‘acceptable’ to ‘good’ performance with simulated annual average flows and TP load of 2.64 × 109 m3 and 428.6 metric tons, respectively. Scenario results showed that TP load reduction without STAs would be around 11–40% with respect to Base compared to over 75% reduction requirement to achieve TMDL, indicating STAs as a necessary component to achieve restoration. The most cost-effective alternative to achieve TP target consisted of implementation of nutrient management BMPs, continuation of existing DWM projects, and the construction of ~200 km2 of STAs for a total project cost of US $4.26 billion. View Full-Text
Keywords: Lake Okeechobee; restoration; watershed modeling; TMDL; best management practices; dispersed water management; cost-effective Lake Okeechobee; restoration; watershed modeling; TMDL; best management practices; dispersed water management; cost-effective
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Khare, Y.; Naja, G.M.; Stainback, G.A.; Martinez, C.J.; Paudel, R.; Van Lent, T. A Phased Assessment of Restoration Alternatives to Achieve Phosphorus Water Quality Targets for Lake Okeechobee, Florida, USA. Water 2019, 11, 327.

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