Our partners at LightHawk have continued to fly surveillance flights over Lake Okeechobee regularly to help us keep an eye on the toxic algae activity within the lake. On Wednesday, pilot Howard Greenberg sent us footage from his latest flight. In the video, evidence of persisting algae blooms appears slight, but recent satellite images confirm that there's still good reason to keep our monitoring going. This summer the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee have enjoyed a much-needed reprieve from toxic Lake Okeechobee discharges — a change that communities on either coasts have been grateful for. But a big storm this time of year could still make releases to the estuaries a reality — and the Army Corps has their eyes on [...]
https://youtu.be/__nRmI93UCc The toxic algae crisis in Lake Okeechobee is worse than it was the last time our partners at LightHawk shared a flyover with us. Pilot Howard Greenberg captured video on June 23 of a festering bloom piled up at the gates of Port Mayaca and streaked through the open waters of Lake Okeechobee just beyond that. That's bad news for Florida residents that are already on edge after recent reports of a dog that died after ingesting toxic algae and more than 120,000 residents in Palm Beach County were warned not to drink their tap water, which was contaminated with toxins caused by blue-green algae. As we continue to document the visible changes by air, be sure to keep [...]
Scenes from the More Haven and Ortona Locks on the Caloosahatchee River captured Friday afternoon, October 16. Releases from Lake Okeechobee began Wednesday, October 14 at a rate of 4,000 cfs out of S-77 west to the Caloosahatchee estuary. The Army Corps reports that releases west are being implemented in a steady release at S-77 with the local basin providing a natural watershed pulse at S-79 in addition to the lake releases. https://youtu.be/MfzqGXDVsuE https://youtu.be/5xCjH2pFNgk https://youtu.be/Xo-Eo7S6Zyc
Scenes from the St. Lucie Lock and Dam captured Friday morning, October 16. Releases from Lake Okeechobee began Wednesday, October 14 at a rate of 1,800 cfs out of S-80 east to the St. Lucie estuary. The Army Corps reports that releases east are being pulsed at S-80 in an effort to have the lowest flow days at the peak of the King Tides this week.
South Florida residents are on edge as heavy rains have pushed the water level in Lake Okeechobee toward the tipping point where damaging releases to the coasts are deemed necessary to protect the Herbert Hoover Dike. Today at 15.86 feet, the possibility of toxic discharges is more likely than it's been the last two years. Thanks to a change in operations that has lowered Lake Okeechobee levels before the rainy season, the Army Corps of Engineers has been better equipped to deal with extra rainfall like the deluge of storms that have lingered over South Florida for the past several weeks. We are hopeful that the Army Corps’ efforts to avoid discharges to the northern estuaries by finding additional southern [...]