Okeechobee News: Water managers hope to send more water south

Article Posted on June 10, 2018

By: Katrina Elsken, Okeechobee News

OKEECHOBEE — The South Florida Water Management District is using all of the tools in the box to deal with the runoff from May’s record-breaking rainfall.

“Water levels throughout the district – which is made up of 16 counties in south Florida are very high after record-breaking rainfall in May,” said Randy Smith at SFWMD press conference in West Palm Beach on Friday.

Lake Okeechobee has risen to the level that the U.S. Corps of Engineers instituted discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries on June 1, he continued.

“We know there is not a silver bullet,” he said. “There is not one single solution that will stop releases from Lake Okeechobee, but over the long term the district is making steady progress on ecosystem restoration projects that will reduce the need for these harmful releases in the future.”

“Water managers here at the district are looking for operational refinements to move more water from Lake Okeechobee south instead of having it going east and west to the estuaries,” he said. “We are working closely with our state and our federal partners the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission…

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