Everglades Illustrated: Lake O levels and the “water shortage management band”

    It’s been a relatively dry summer. As of September 11, Lake Okeechobee stood at 12.55 feet. That’s about 2 feet lower than this time last year. Last week, the lake officially entered what’s known as the “water shortage management band” — a point where water managers can implement water restrictions if necessary and South Florida Water Management District steps in to determine release volumes from Lake O. But let’s not sound the drought alarm bells just yet. Typically the biggest concern during rainy season is that Lake O will rise too fast, threatening the integrity of the Herbert Hoover Dike and triggering damaging discharges to the northern estuaries — but that has not been the case this summer. [...]

2022-09-14T16:43:47-04:00September 13th, 2022|All Posts, Everglades Illustrated, Lake Okeechobee, LOSOM|

Old Laws and New Health Threats

On February 1, 2022, environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla gave a presentation at The Edward and Bonnie Foreman Environmental Diversity Lecture Series at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL.  The presentation, outlined in full below, discusses the frightening impacts of cyanobacteria as a world-wide problem and the challenges faced by the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as they work to implement the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan amid this new public health threat. Old Laws and New Health Threats By Maggy Hurchalla I’m going to talk to you today about water law and water reality in a warming world and the real or imaginary conflicts that now exist. We didn’t have any water law in Florida until 1973. The [...]

Documenting the discharges by plane – 9-24-21

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 [...]

2021-09-24T14:32:14-04:00September 24th, 2021|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, Toxic Algae|

Documenting the Discharges by Plane – 6-23-21

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 [...]

2021-06-24T17:04:18-04:00June 24th, 2021|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, Toxic Algae|

Toxic Discharge Update: Moore Haven and Ortona Locks 10-16-20

Scenes from the Moore 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

Toxic Discharge Update: St. Lucie Locks 10-16-20

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.

2020-10-16T16:53:17-04:00October 16th, 2020|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, St. Lucie Estuary, Toxic Algae|

Lake Okeechobee Discharge Watch

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 [...]

2020-10-06T17:13:01-04:00October 6th, 2020|All Posts, Lake Okeechobee, Toxic Algae|

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