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Corps to maintain current flows from Lake Okeechobee

Posted: 2:11 PM, Sep 25, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-29 11:38:04-04
Lake Okeechobee discharges bring algae concerns

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday they will continue releases of water from Lake Okeechobee at the same rates.

Algae concerns are blooming once again on the Treasure Coast and people are watching the Corps next move. 

The Army Corps of Engineers has been discharging 1.1 billion gallons of water a day into the St. Lucie River. Now residents and business owners fear another round of algae blooms is coming.

It's the same flow rate sent into the river in May and June that caused multiple toxic algae blooms.

Lake Okeechobee's elevation this week is over the maximum level of 15 feet, 7 inches. This caused the increase in discharges.

"The increase in outflows over the past week has helped slow the rise," said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District in a news release.  "However, the lake is still rising.  With additional rain in the forecast and tropical activity in the Caribbean, we believe the best course is to maintain flows at the same rate." 

Mark Perry, the executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society in Stuart, is concerned the flow rate could bring a lot of bad water into the St. Lucie River.

"With more discharges and the warm water temperatures they're still being above 85 degrees, we'll still see maybe some algae blooms," says Perry.

1.1 billion gallons is equal to nearly 1,700 Olympic-sized pools.