No one wants a repeat of the 2016 algae crisis, and Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers said it doesn't expect we will see one.
The Army Corps controls the amount of water released from Lake Okeechobee. The more water released, the greater the chance of toxic algae spreading into local waterways. The good news is that engineers do not expect the same sort of water releases in 2017 compared with 2016.
"The bottom line is in the grand scheme of your storage options, there are minimal changes in the storage options that water managers have in the summer of 2017 and the summer of 2018 versus what we had in 2016," said Col. Jason Kirk, the Jacksonville District Commander for the Army Corps of Engineers.
Even though there are not drastic changes as to how the Army Corps of Engineers stores and releases water, it doesn't think we will see conditions that created the murky, toxic blue-green algae that plagued the Treasure Coast; and the reason is rain. Their rain forecasts tell them to expect less rain, therefore lower lake volumes, which in turn means lower releases in 2017 and 2018.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the stage at Lake Okeechobee today is at an elevation of 13.06 feet. Last year on this date, it was 15.44 feet. This is the lowest the lake has been since the summer of 2015, which makes it in a much better position for the arrival of the wet season.