Lake Okeechobee is lowering quicker than expected, Army Corps say
LEE COUNTY, Fla. – The Army Corps of Engineers will not make a change to their water release schedule this weekend.
Col. Andrew Kelly gave an update on Friday and said they will continue releasing 1,500 cubic feet per second from Lake Okeechobee down into the Caloosahatchee River.
The Corps said 61 percent of the flows from the lake are heading south right now into the Everglades. Thirty-seven percent is heading west into the Caloosahatchee, and two percent is heading east to the St. Lucie Estuary.
Gov. Ron Desantis, the Lee County Commission, and dozens of water groups have sent letters to the Army Corps asking them to change how they release water in the future. Engineers are working on the new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual right now.
LOSOM will be the guidelines on how and when the Corps should release water depending on lake depth, weather, and time of year. Their new plan will be set for the next ten years. Col. Kelly said they will release the details of the plan in July.
Algal blooms are filling the river from the Franklin Locks east to other parts of Alva. Water groups hope the Army Corps releases more water south during the dry season moving forward.
Right now, Lake O is sitting at 13.25 feet. Col. Kelly hopes to get it down to 13 feet before June 1, and he said they’re in a better spot than they anticipated.
Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann said the commission doesn’t have an exact plan to combat blooms if 2018 happens again. He said they are working on a plan now just in case.
NBC2 will keep following the algae and where it moves to. You can count on us to let you know if the Army Corps makes any changes.
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