The U.S. Army Corps stopped the water releases out of Lake Okeechobee Monday, the same day Governor Rick Scott visited Southwest Florida to see the blue-green algae blooms invading the area, which came from the Lake and Caloosahatchee River.
Governor Scott issued a state of emergency.
But those releases from Lake O are expected to start up again Friday at a slightly lower rate than before, over the next 14 days.
Lake Okeechobee is approaching 14.5 feet. The lake is supposed to be drained at 14 feet to help manage flood risk in South Florida.
This week, no water has been flowing down the Caloosahatchee River from Lake O, but water is still flowing around 839 cubic feet per second at Ortona Lock. This is from natural drainage.
When we water our lawns, wash our cars, or even who it rains, all that water has to go somewhere.
The Lee County Commissioners have a plan for that.
“What we’ve done is taken the major drainage canals, for some of these big communities, where water is coming off of our landscape, and we’ve created filter marshes where the water will be treated and cleaned,” Commissioner Brian Hamman, Lee County District 4, said. “It gets cleaned by natural vegetation, mother nature. The plants, it turns out, are one of the best cleaners and they send clean water into the river. So those are projects we are working on with the state of Florida.”
Reporting by Allyssa Dickert