Water-Related News

Lake O releases slowed to help protected species during nesting season

Federal water managers slowed releases to both the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers over the weekend in an effort to slow Lake Okeechobee's recession rate.

Average flows to the Caloosahatchee were 2,000 cubic feet per second, but the Army Corps lowered that to 1,200 cubic feet per second, and levels in St. Lucie were dropped to 300 cubic feet per second, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers records.

"It's a good number," said Barry Rosen, a professor with Florida Gulf Coast University's Water School, talking about the flow to the Caloosahatchee system. "Twelve hundred (cubic feet per second) is not going to harm oysters, and it's not going to hurt the freshwater tape grasses."

The Army Corps has tried for several weeks now to lower Lake Okeechobee, which was just over 14 feet above sea level Wednesday afternoon, in order to avoid summertime releases.