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Lake Okeechobee to be lowered

May 12, 2005 at 10:46 AM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., May 12 (UPI) -- Water managers are planning to create an artificial drought to rehabilitate Lake Okeechobee, the sprawling body of water in the middle of Florida.

Officials at West Palm Beach are planning to drain the 730-square-mile lake about 2 1/2 feet to 12 feet deep, "the bottom of its healthy range."

They hope the drought-like level will clear the lake of the murk that has been plaguing it since last year's onslaught of Florida hurricanes stirred up the bottom.

The silt and mud suspended in the water have blocked sunlight from getting to the bottom of the lake and essential plant life has been suffering form a lack of light.

"We're obviously in a lot of trouble where we are," said Michael Collins, a member of the board of the South Florida Water Management District.

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