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Diver Russell Singson, owner of Barracuda Dive Service in Stuart, has been grappling with a decline in business due to the murky waters resulting from discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The discharges have led to a significant decrease in visibility, making it difficult for his team to clean boats efficiently. As a result, the team is working longer hours and receiving smaller paychecks as they are unable to service as many boats in a day.

Singson and his team are taking extra precautions with sanitation after diving to avoid infections caused by the murky water. Currently, around 50 boats are waiting for cleaning services, putting a strain on the business. Despite this challenge, Singson remains optimistic about the future and hopes for a change in circumstances that will benefit his business and community.

At At the Helm Training located down the St. Lucie River, Nancy Husk, Operations Manager shared that their bookings for trainings have decreased by 50% compared to the previous year due to concerns about water cleanliness. Customers are apprehensive about being in the water after recalling the severe algae bloom in 2018. Husk expressed concern about the future if the discharges continue and its impact on younger clients who enjoy renting boats and going to sandbars. She hopes that Army Corps of Engineers will adjust their approach to releasing water, which may help alleviate some of the impact on local businesses like hers.

Both Singson and Husk are concerned about both economic and environmental implications of ongoing discharges from Lake Okeechobee and hope for positive change soon.

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