NewsProtecting Paradise


Army Corps of Engineers work to reduce algae problems ahead of rainy season

Posted at 6:05 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 06:05:45-05

The federal agency that manages the level of Lake O says it's just not dropping as quickly as they would like.

Col. Andrew Kelly with the Army Corps of Engineers says they want to get the lake level down now so there won't be algae problems when the rainy season starts.

"This is the time of the year where Lake releases arguably do, kind of, the least amount of harm - for lack of a better term - to the estuaries, says Kelly.

The Corps releases most of the water into the Caloosahatchee which connects Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico.

If the lake water has algae blooms, it brings that into the river where the blooms can become worse as they're fed by fertilizer and other forms of runoff in the river.

"We're being aggressive but we're also being mindful that we don't go too far," says Col. Kelly who acknowledged the problems a few years ago when huge water releases led to algae blooms in the river and along our coast.

"At this point right now, there are no indicators that it's going to be a high algae season but there are certainly going to be algae on the Lake in the hot summer months," says Col. Kelly.

"And so, we know that's coming."

"And that's kind of what we're doing right now to make sure we can release some now before the algae kind of gets significant," he adds.