Water-Related News

Despite Lake Okeechobee dumping, dike danger continues to rise

Lake Okeechobee keeps rising — and so do worries about an aging dike the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranks among the most vulnerable to failure in the country.

With the massive lake swollen by a more than a month of heavy rain, the Corps cranked the flood gates open to “maximum” two weeks ago. That move infuriated residents on both coasts, coursing billions of gallons of foul nutrient-laced runoff down two rivers, but it also managed to at least slow the rate of rise.

So far, however, it hasn’t been nearly enough to reverse a troubling climb. Even with South Florida dodging the wettest remnants of Tropical Storm Dorian last week, daily storms continue to slowly push water levels up and put pressure on the 143-mile-long Herbert Hoover Dike.

The Corps held a news conference Wednesday to insist federal engineers are doing everything they can to minimize environmental impacts while protecting public safety but cautioned that nature, particularly the tropics, may play the biggest role in whether the lake will reach the dike’s danger zone over the next few months.