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Corps and district take action to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 11:33:53-04

Lake Okeechobee's water levels have dropped to 14 feet since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started releasing water three weeks ago.

Starting Friday, the Army Corps is reducing those discharges.

At John Stretch Park near Clewiston, Colonel Jason Kirk is optimistic as the Corps reduces discharges with "pulses."

"Movement of water helps flush the algae," said Kirk.

The Corps is looking at ways to prevent discharges, such as sending water south.

"We're looking for, asking for, all the appropriate flexibility all the way down to South Dade, up into the conservation areas," said Kirk.

The South Florida Water Management District is also installing temporary pumps to allow more capacity in those water conservation areas to send lake water south.

Along the lake, professional angler Scott Martin says the focus should be on maintaining a low healthy lake.

"I'm all about sending water south, I'm all about making sure the coasts are in great shape, but we can't sacrifice Lake Okeechobee. This is our only source of tourism here," said Martin.