BREAKING: Corps to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee

The Army Corps of Engineers announced this morning it will reduce the flows from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuares.

The discharges are blamed for contributing to the spread of blue-green algae on the Treasure Coast and western waterways.

Lake Okeechobee is at 14.31 feet above sea level today. Reduced discharges will begin Friday.

“The water level in the lake has dropped slightly over the past two weeks,” said Maj. Joseph Sahl, Jacksonville District deputy commander. “The guidance under the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule calls for reduced flows under current conditions.”

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The announcement comes a day after the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force met in Washington, D.C., where the lake was a large part of the discussion.

“I know we have a problem right there in Florida right now and it’s a terrible thing,” said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Ricky James about the blue-green algae. “It’s a terrible thing, but not something that is easily fixed.”

Dena Aiello rides her Sea-Doo in the algae laden water on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, July 10, 2018. “This algae is awful, she said. ” (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

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