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Long process to repair Lake Okeechobee dike, revamp water management rules nears completion

The sun sets behind the lock and dam on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River. Photo by Amy Green
The sun sets behind the lock and dam on Lake Okeechobee and the St. Lucie River. Photo by Amy Green

A major project to shore up the dike around Lake Okeechobee and revamp the rules for managing the state’s largest lake is nearing completion. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment before the process is expected to wrap up early next year. 

The dike repairs are expected to be complete this year and are aimed at addressing safety concerns for the more than half-century-old dike. 

Col. James Booth with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the repairs mean that the lake can be managed differently for the communities around it and Everglades to the south. 

“Now we’re looking at, how do we take the benefits of that safety and find the best use of that water that we can to spread benefits across the system.” 

The new rules for managing the lake are expected to be in place next spring. Among the top concerns is addressing lake flows that have triggered widespread toxic algae blooms. 

Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.