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Poor health of Lake Okeechobee is not a good sign for coastal communities

Posted at 4:47 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 18:17:10-05

Scientists believe Hurricane Irma wiped out the vegetation that grows in Lake Okeechobee.

So what does that mean when discharges into the estuaries potentially resume?

Dozens of square miles of vegetation was likely killed by the storm.

Scientists say with that loss there could be very little filter and potential nutrients flowing into the lake from the north could settle in the lake.

Those nutrients could be waiting to be discharged east and west.

"Adds to the fact that we may get algae blooms and continuation of that in the lake and then that also translates to the estuaries," said Mark Perry of Florida's Oceanographic Society.

He's concerned about lake levels at this point.

"Never want to be caught this high during the summer," said Perry.

The Army Corps would like to have the lake between 12.5 to 15.5 feet heading into the rainy season. The preferred level is 12.5.

Right now levels are above 15 feet.