Gov. Rick Scott to tour St. Lucie Estuary today as concerns over toxic algae and bacteria continue

STUART, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott will tour the St. Lucie Estuary today, as concerns continue over toxic algae and high levels of bacteria. 

Governor Scott will tour the S-80 Control Structure, also known as the St. Lucie Locks, where billions of gallons of water are released from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie River. 

He will be hosted by Senator Joe Negron and the pair will meet with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The South Florida Water Management District has tentatively approved a Central Everglades Planning Project. 

The $1.8 billion plan would allow some water from Lake Okeechobee to be released south of South Bay and into the Everglades.

Billions of gallons of water would be released through a series of basins, canals and reservoirs from Lake Okeechobee into Florida Bay, in hopes of reducing the impact on the environment. 

Treasure Coast residents have increasing concerns over environmental issues stemming from the toxic water, as many say they've seen the population of birds, fish and other wildlife thin out dramatically. 

Problems have been reported from West Palm Beach to the Kennedy Space Center.  

Mark Perry with the Florida Oceanographic Society says with the salinity levels so low, they took a survey last week and found a 99% mortality rate among the oyster beds.

Meanwhile, swimmers have been forced to stay out of the water or risk illness. 

Some have raised concerns over the safety of seafood captured in the water. 

Area businesses say the situation has hurt. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must submit a draft proposal to Congress no later than December 31st for the Central Everglades Planning Project to be considered. 

If it misses its deadline, action may be delayed until 2021.

Tuesday, Governor Scott plans to discuss the maintenance of the Okeechobee Lake Dike System and possible solutions with the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Thursday, Senator Negron will host a hearing in Stuart with stakeholders in the future of the Indian River Lagoon. 

For more information, visit the special section of NewsChannel 5's website: http://www.wptv.com/generic/news/toxic-water-on-the-Treasure-Coast

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