Originally published in The News-Press by Chad Gillis on February 28, 2019

Lake Okeechobee releases started again last week, and the results are a mixed bag for the Caloosahatchee River and its delicate estuary.

The volume of water is not concerning to many local environmental groups, but they do question the quality of water coming from the big lake.

“I don’t have any problem with those flow rates coming out of Franklin Lock,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. “(But) part of the uncertainty is if the discharges bring algal biomass, hopefully not, cyanobacteria, into the river. People are worried we’re going to see another bloom.”

“I think the goal is to prevent high discharge rates during the summer,” Cassani said. “The salinity was getting into the upper limit (in the estuary). It’s back down and if they can sustain that salinity level a little longer it might allow the grass to recover a little, to sustain it until the next dry season.”

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