Lake Okeechobee levels rise again as releases continue to pose threats

Reporter: Corey Lazar
Published: Updated:

SANIBEL, Fla. – Water levels at Lake Okeechobee rose again overnight Saturday, reaching record-high levels despite 10 days of significant releases.

More than 3.7 billion gallons of water are being released daily from the lake and into the Caloosahatchee River and other Southwest Florida waterways following unusually high rains in January.

Every day, 2 billion gallons of water are also being released to the east coast of Florida through St. Lucie River.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it cannot afford to stop the releases even as the fresh water entering water along the Lee County coast turns murky and brown. Lake levels rise even after raining stops.

The flush of murky fresh water to the Gulf of Mexico is a threat to marine life because it does not allow light to reach seagrass, scientist said. Without seagrass, sea creatures die. The fresh water also aides in developing toxic red tide algae blooms.

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