OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Discussions will take place this coming week on whether or not the Lake Okeechobee water release schedule should be altered.
Mark Perry, Executive Director at the Florida Oceanographic Institute, spoke to Michael Williams on To The Point saying any changes would take place in 2022.
“In 2022, they are going to complete what they call the Herbert Hoover Dike restoration and simultaneously the Lake Okeechobee system operating manual, which is a new Lake Okeechobee schedule,” Perry said.
The new EAA reservoir is expected to be complete in another seven years. Perry said more water needs to be sent south.
“We are all being jeopardized or impacted, if you will, and I think we all need to share that adversity in flowing that water south,” Perry stated.
Right now the water level for Lake Okeechobee is 14.89 feet.
Perry is concerned that with that high of a level, discharges into the St. Lucie estuary are inevitable.
“We are concerned going into April, oysters and sea grass and other things that begin to spawn and grow are going to be jeopardized just by too much fresh water for too long period of time,” according to Perry.
Previous lengthy discharges have created harmful algal blooms in the estuary.
Perry adds, “it’s a real health issue as well as economic and socioeconomic issue to our community.”