PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Despite red tide, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releasing more water from Lake O into Southwest Florida

Image taken 11-3-20 by Ralph Arwood, LightHawk Conservation Flying.jpg
Ralph Arwood
/
Courtesy Calusa Waterkeeper
Image taken 11-3-20 by Ralph Arwood, LightHawk Conservation Flying

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced a plan to increase the amount of water being released from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

Updated 02/05/21

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has announced a plan to increase the amount of water being released from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

The Corps is planning a 7 day average pulse release of 1,500 cubic feet per second, as measured near Fort Myers.

There are no plans to release water from the Lake through the St. Lucie Lock on the east coast.

Officials say Lake O is still high, especially for this time of year. Releasing the water now, they say, is part of their dry-season strategy, and will hopefully result in slower releases later in the season when there is a greater risk of algae blooms.

Last week, Lake O’s water stage was over 15 feet, the second-highest level for this time of year since 2008.

Red tide, which has been linked to Lake O discharges, is currently present off the coast of Southwest Florida.

The latest update from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission on January 29 said the organism that causes it, K. brevis, was observed at background to very low concentrations in and offshore of Charlotte County, background to high concentrations in and offshore of Lee County, and background to medium concentrations in and offshore of Collier County.

This story was updated on 02/05/21 to reflect USACOE's decision to release 1,500 cubic feet per second, rather than 2,000.