Increased water releases from Lake Okeechobee begin Friday

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says releases are necessary

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

Lake Okeechobee. Image provided by Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Amid concerns about the high water level, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will increase the amount of water discharged from Lake Okeechobee beginning Friday.

“With continued paramount focus on Herbert Hoover Dike safety throughout 2018, we need to make increased discharges to slow the still dangerous rise in lake levels,” Jacksonville District Commander, Col. Jason Kirk said in a news release. "In concert with the South Florida Water Management District, we continue to maximize storage north and south of the lake to minimize the requirement for discharges.”

As of Friday, the lake stage is at 14.57 feet, which is above what it was when Hurricane Irma swept through the area in September 2017. Officials worry that a similar storm could cause the lake to swell to a dangerous level much like it did last year.

The St. Lucie average flow will increase by 330 cubic feet per second to a 1,500 cfs pulse. The 14-day average from Moore Haven Lock & Dam will be 2,000 cfs. These flows are still below the level allowed by the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule.

Officials said they will continue to monitor conditions on the lake and adjust the flows as necessary.

Many are also concerned about how these discharges could be spreading blue-green algae to nearby canals and rivers. To read more about that, click here.

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