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Army Corps of Engineers reducing discharges from Lake Okeechobee

Discharges have been occurring since Oct. 14
Lake Okeechobee discharges through St. Lucie Lock, Oct. 14, 2020
Posted at 5:31 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 17:31:13-05

STUART, Fla. — There is some relief for residents who live and work along the St. Lucie Estuary.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday they will begin to reduce freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

The discharges will stop on Saturday, but it will only last for five days.

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The Army Corps of Engineers said the discharges will then resume Wednesday for one week but at a reduced amount from previous weeks.

"We will reduce the releases from Lake Okeechobee over the next month," said Col. Andrew Kelly said in a written statement. "The 2020-2021 dry season has begun, and we will manage the lake in tandem with the needs and concerns of the people and ecosystems of South Florida."

The release pattern will continue for the next month.

The St. Lucie Lock was opened Oct. 14 to release Lake Okeechobee water into the St. Lucie River for the first time in nearly two summers.

The lake level on Thursday was 16.02 feet, which is nearly 3 feet higher than this time last year.