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Discharges from Lake Okeechobee hope to limit releases this summer

Posted: 10:09 AM, Feb 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-25 16:13:48Z

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — It's not summertime but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is already discharging water from Lake Okeechobee into the St Lucie Estuary.

Water is currently flowing through the St. Lucie Lock for the next three weeks.

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The Army Corps of Engineers said they are lowering lake levels now before it becomes filled with toxic algae.

Last summer, discharges from Lake Okeechobee brought harmful blue-green algae into the St. Lucie Estuary.

Even though it is the dry season, it has been wetter than usual in some areas of Florida this winter.

The Army Corps says lake levels rose half a foot in the last month to nearly 13 feet.

This has prompted them to release water both east and west to hopefully prevent the lake from reaching a high level in the coming months. Under current government regulations, this would inevitably prompt more releases once the wet season begins.

The discharges started Saturday and will last 21 days.

Engineers are also working with the South Florida Water Management District to try and send more water south.