Water-Related News

Blue-Green Algae Task Force questions Army Corps plan for predicting HABs

The Army Corps of Engineers asked the Florida Blue-Green Algae Task Force on Thursday for a "thumbs up" on a plan to operate Lake Okeechobee in a way to reduce the threat of harmful blue-green algae blooms.

They didn't get it.

The Corps is developing a new set of guidelines known as the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, or LOSOM, to determine, among other things, if, when and how much lake water will be discharged east to the St. Lucie River and west to the Caloosahatchee River.

The Corps plans to have a recommendation for new guidelines in July and, after further review, have them become effective in 2022, replacing the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule, aka LORS.

The No. 1 objective of LOSOM is to "manage the risk to public health and safety," Col. Andrew Kelly, Corps commander for Florida, told the task force Thursday in a Zoom meeting.