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New Lake Okeechobee Rules To Bring Minimal Toxic Algae Relief, Report Says

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

A new report says Floridians should expect only minimal relief from toxic algae as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers new rules for managing Lake Okeechobee. 

Lake Okeechobee is at the heart of debate over toxic algae because of discharges from the lake of nutrient-enriched water that in recent years has nourished the harmful blooms. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering the new rules for the state’s largest lake as several Everglades restoration projects near completion. 

Some saw the new rules as an opportunity to manage the lake differently and stem the blooms. 

But the new report from the University of Florida Water Institute says the restoration projects nearing completion cannot provide the water storage needed for real relief from toxic algae.

The report calls for much more water storage north, south, east and west of the lake — reducing the amount of harmful discharges to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers revises the rules for managing Lake Okeechobee about every 10 years. The corps is the federal agency overseeing Everglades restoration. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »