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Lake Okeechobee water to be released into Caloosahatchee due to low salinity levels

Lake O discharges
Posted at 2:00 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 14:00:06-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will resume releasing water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee Estuary this weekend.

The agency says because of dry conditions and a lack of lake water releases over the last several months, that the Caloosahatchee's salinity is too high and is in need of fresh water.

Beginning Saturday, water will begin flowing at the Franklin Lock in Alva at a 7-day average rate of 650 cubic feet per second.

No water is scheduled to be released into the St. Lucie Estuary at this time.

"This past month was the driest September on record in south Florida since they started tracking it in 1932," said Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander.

There have been signs of algae in the lake near Port Mayaca.

The Department of Environmental Protection reports that toxic algae bloom potential is low on the lake and the estuaries.

The Corps has not made targeted releases from the lake since July 12, with the exception of a brief 10-day average release of 200 cfs at the Moore Haven Lock and Dam to support a Corps algae research project.