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Army Corps Faces Threat Of Lawsuit Over Lake Okeechobee Discharges

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

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is facing a threatened lawsuit over Lake Okeechobee water discharges believed to be contributing to toxic algae.

The Center for Biological Diversity, Calusa Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance filed the notice of intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act.

The notice accuses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of failing to consider protected species like sea turtles in a plan to continue releasing water from Lake Okeechobee through 2025.

The nutrient-enriched water releases to the Caloosahatchee and Saint Lucie rivers and their delicate estuaries are believed to nourish the blue-green algae and red tide that gripped Florida this year.

The notice also names the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The federal agencies have 60 days to respond. All declined to comment on the potential litigation.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »