Monday, May 20

US Rep. Brian Mast discusses Lake Okeechobee water discharges

A Florida congressman continues to call on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to halt discharges from Lake Okeechobee.

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., will hold a news conference Thursday morning in Stuart to address his concerns.


Mast has repeatedly urged Army Corps Col. James Booth to stop the freshwater releases from the lake into the St. Lucie Estuary.

The Army Corps in February began discharging up to one billion gallons of water into estuaries to get lake levels down and prevent flooding.

As of Tuesday, the lake was down about a foot from where it was last month to 15.39 feet.

The Army Corps announced last week that water released would pause for two weeks starting Friday ahead of the oyster spawning season.

But Mast called the two-week halt insufficient and believes a long-term halt is the only way to prevent the spread of blue-green algae.

“The ongoing discharges, are not only incredibly damaging to our estuary but also directly contradict the [Corps’] best available science and modeling,” Mast recently wrote in a letter to Booth. “I urge you to immediately cease discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary.”

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