U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will reduce the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee

Posted at 3:43 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 20:49:14-04

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans on reducing the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee this weekend due to the blue green algae problem on the Treasure Coast.

The lake level is currently at 14.90 feet. The Corps says that’s up more than a foot from its low for 2016 of 13.64 on May 17.

The Corps says it has been a challenging year.

“Our water managers have dealt with such large quantities of rain and runoff entering the lake that it would cover the entire state of Delaware in two feet of water.  However, after visiting with local elected officials in Martin County yesterday and viewing the algae first hand, we felt compelled to take action, even though we need to remain vigilant in managing the level of Lake Okeechobee,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District Commander Col. Jason Kirk in a statement.

The Army Corps of Engineers likes to keep the level between 12 1/2 and 15 1/2 feet year round, with the lower end of that range at the beginning of the rainy season.

Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency Wednesday night in Martin and St. Lucie counties due to blue-green algae blooms in South Florida waterways.

“Governor Scott’s emergency declaration gives the South Florida Water Management District the ability to reduce some of the flows coming into the lake,” said Kirk.  “The decrease in flows coming into the lake allows us to lower flows going out of the lake. This should bring some degree of relief to the estuaries and allow salinities to recover.”

Martin County Commissioners and the city of Stuart have also declared local state of emergencies.