Herbert Hoover Dike getting better every day’

OKEECHOBEE — The 2019 wet season has brought “average” rainfall according to information shared at Sept. 13 meeting of the County Coalition for the Responsible Management of Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries and the Lake Worth Lagoon. After the series of years of “above average” rainfall which meant high levels in Lake […]

Lake Okeechobee level just under 14 feet

OKEECHOBEE — Lake Okeechobee continued to hover just below 14 feet above sea level last week. With the exception of six weeks in February and March, flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee River has been done to benefit the river and the salinity levels in the Caloosahatchee estuaries. If there was sufficient flow from […]

Water managers move more water south

WEST PALM BEACH — The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) deactivated its Emergency Operations Center and returned to “seasonal readiness” at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The district received an average of about 1 inch of rainfall throughout Hurricane Dorian. District staff are working to return the regional flood control system to normal operations. The district […]

Comment period extended on plans for reservoir

JACKSONVILLE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is still accepting public comment on the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project (LOWRP) revised draft Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (PIR/EIS). Public comment will be accepted through Sept. 3, 2019. This is an extension of the previously advertised public comment date of Aug. […]

Suggestion: Use water farm to divert C-44 flow

PORT MAYACA — For most of the rainy season, water from the St. Lucie Canal, also called the C-44 Canal, “backflowed” into Lake Okeechobee. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tries to keep the C-44 at 14 to 14.5 feet above sea level. When the canal level is higher than the lake level, if the […]

Lake level rising, no algal blooms reported

Recent rainfall has caused Lake Okeechobee to rise. While the lake has “potential” for blue green algal blooms, there were no reports of algal blooms last week. Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) tests of water in Lake Okeechobee found no toxins or barely detectable low levels (within the standard allowed for drinking water.) The […]

Lake level ‘deviation’ is calculated risk State and federal agencies meet Tuesday

The “deviation” plan for Lake Okeechobee proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would allow the corps to release less water east to the St. Lucie Canal and west to the Caloosahatchee River when harmful algal blooms (HABs) are present and more water when there are no HABs present. That means fewer releases in […]

Flow from St. Lucie Canal could be feeding algae in lake

PORT MAYACA — In previous years, coastal residents have often blamed Lake Okeechobee for the algal blooms that plagued their waterways. This year, the Big O may be protecting the estuaries from lower salinity levels conducive to algal blooms. Untreated, unfiltered, nutrient-laden runoff from the C-44 basin in Martin County continued to pour into Lake […]

SFWMD considers changes to nutrient load regulations

WEST PALM BEACH — The South Florida Water Management District governing board is considering changes to the phosphorus and nitrogen reduction rules in the northern Everglades. At their Aug. 8 meeting at the SFWMD district office in West Palm Beach, Steffany Olson, SFWMD Science Supervisor, explained the process for amending the Florida Statutes related to […]

Okeechobee officials critical of army corps lake proposals

OKEECHOBEE — On Aug. 6 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed changes to the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule that would allow more flexibility in the operation of Lake Okeechobee releases when harmful algal blooms are present. The corps is allowing 15 days for any public comments on the changes, but local officials in Okeechobee […]