Water-Related News

Harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to be reduced

Harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the ocean will be reduced immediately, as state and federal water managers try to protect Florida’s coasts from another outbreak of toxic algae.

The Army Corps of Engineers, which limits the lake’s water level to keep pressure off its aging dike, announced Thursday that it would reduce water flows through the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, which had been blamed for the green slime that coated beaches two years ago.

The South Florida Water Management District, which controls the region’s major drainage canals, announced a series of measures, including the installation of temporary pumps, to rush water through the Everglades regions of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties so the lake’s excess water could be moved south.

It’s unclear how much these measures can reduce the discharges and how long the relief will last, with the rainy season underway and the need to keep the lake low enough to absorb water from tropical storms or hurricanes.