Harmful algae bloom. Photo by T. Archer. Shared under license.

Gov. Rick Scott tells DEP to urge Army Corps to redirect Lake Okeechobee discharges south

By Ali Schmitz and , Treasure Coast Newspapers

[dropcap]G[/dropcap]ov. Rick Scott told the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday to issue an emergency order urging the Army Corps of Engineers to “send it south.”

By “it,” he means Lake Okeechobee water that’s been carrying blue-green algae blooms — some of it toxic — to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers since the Army Corps started discharging excess lake water east and west on June 1.

While the message appears to offer relief, some have noted that there is no storage nor not enough conveyance for the water to go to the south, and that is going to be a problem.

More:Lake O water flow since June 1

The freshwater kills life in the brackish St. Lucie estuary and is laden with fertilizer — nitrogen and phosphorus in particular — that feeds algae blooms. The blue-green algae has been carried by the discharges from Lake Okeechobee where it originated towards the coastal estuaries.

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