Two-week “rest period” for Lake Okeechobee discharges


Aerial view of a bridge spanning over a body of water with visible water discoloration.

From Captains for Clean Water:

After 42 days of high-volume, damaging discharges to both the east and west coasts of Florida, the Army Corps of Engineers will be implementing a two-week “rest period.”

The intent of the rest period is to allow salinity levels to rebound in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River estuaries, which have seen a dramatic, harmful decline since freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee began on February 17th.

These damaging coastal discharges can come with myriad impacts to our waters, destroying foundational habitat, proliferating or supercharging harmful algal blooms like red tide and blue-green algae, and crippling South Florida’s economies that depend on clean water.

During the pause, the Corps will be monitoring long-range weather forecasts and re-evaluating Lake O levels to determine their release strategy following the break, which they’re expected to announce next Friday.

This rest period is an attempt triage harm to the struggling system, but it is in NO WAY a long-term solution to this wide-reaching crisis.

The full-scale SOLUTION is still Everglades Restoration, which will help store, clean, and send this excess Lake O water south through the Everglades and into Florida Bay, where it once flowed naturally and where it’s needed today.

Stay tuned, we’ll continue updating you on the current situation.


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