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.
Today, Friends of the Everglades asked the Army Corps of Engineers to hold off on Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries for one more week. We believe the cost-benefit analysis remains in favor of waiting, for the following five reasons: The 7-day forecast looks relatively dry, which means Lake Okeechobee’s water levels are likely to stop rising so quickly. King Tides are projected on the east coast this week, posing flooding risk that could be amplified by Lake O discharges. There are no imminent tropical-cyclone threats in the Atlantic that could bring rain to Lake Okeechobee. Florida Department of Environmental Protection is still waiting on toxicity results for water samples taken at S-308 and S-77, the [...]
Today, Friends of the Everglades stood with Congressman Brian Mast in front of the St. Lucie River in support of his newly-introduced legislation. The bill aims to prohibit toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon when microcystin exceeds the EPA recreational limit of 8 parts per billion. An advanced copy of the bill can be viewed here. With each passing year, we have accumulated more scientific evidence confirming the serious health threats posed by toxic algae blooms. Yet it’s still legally permissible to flood our communities with this toxic water. That's inexcusable. Congressman Mast’s legislation aims to stop that. These are not partisan issues. They are commonsense public-health protections. We support Congressman [...]
Ms. Ehlinger, Please find Friends of the Everglades' attached line-by-line feedback pertaining to the RECOVER Northern Estuaries Salinity Envelope Performance Metrics. We thank the Army Corps of Engineers and the whole RECOVER team for its work on these draft metrics, which are an improvement over the 2007 targets. That said, we see room for improvement if the RECOVER metrics are to stand as a true measure of CERP’s ability to restore, preserve and protect the South Florida ecosystem while balancing other water-related needs. First and foremost, Friends of the Everglades strongly opposes including any Lake Okeechobee Regulatory Releases in “Optimum” performance metrics for the St. Lucie Estuary. The St. Lucie Estuary requires ZERO cubic feet of water from Lake Okeechobee; [...]