This week Gov. Scott and Martin County Commissioners declared a state of emergency because of blue green algal blooms in the lakes, rivers and canals of the Treasure Coast.
The South Florida Water Management District is pursuing the following actions to lessen the impact of lake releases and local basin stormwater runoff on the naturally occurring algal blooms.
At the direction of Gov. Scott, the District has begun holding additional water in the Upper Kissimmee Chain of Lakes north of Lake Okeechobee over what would be held this time of year under normal operating procedures. This will reduce the volume of water flowing south into Lake Okeechobee and the need for higher lake releases.
The District is increasing discharges from the lake south through the C10A structure into the L8 Canal in Palm Beach County from 250 cubic feet per second to 400 cubic feet per second.
In light of the District’s recommendation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reducing their Lake Okeechobee releases from approximately 1,800 cubic feet per second to 1,170 cubic feet per second.
The District will implement the Governor’s executive order by accelerating the use of private properties to store additional water. The Florida Legislature and Gov. Scott appropriated approximately $47.8 million for that purpose last session.
The District will continue to explore practical operational steps that can be taken to address the algal blooms. In addition, the District is continuing to sample waterways as it has been doing and is coordinating with other state agencies that are responsible for algae response.
For more information on the District’s responses to bluegreen algae and facts about algae please visit the District’s website at http://sfwmd.link/AlgaeResponse.
For information on the Department of Environmental Protections response to bluegreen algae visit the DEP’s website at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/water/bgalgae/index.htm.
For more information about bluegreen algae visit the Florida Department of Health’s website at http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/aquatic-toxins/index.html