What Impacts Could Tropical Storm Eta have on Lake Okeechobee and Water Releases?

by | Nov 4, 2020 | Press

Originally published by WINK News on November 4, 2020

As we continue to watch Tropical Storm Eta’s track, we’re looking at the impact it could have on Southwest Florida water.

If Eta dumps a lot of rain on us, it could mean more water releases from Lake Okeechobee.

Lake O releases started last month and are changing the color of water along Lee County’s coast. A tropical storm over the lake means its levels will rise in a hurry, and it’s the job of the Army Corps of Engineers to keep Lake O at a safe level, even if that means releasing more water our way.

One of the Corps’ jobs is to keep that from happening again. Right now, the lake’s level is just over 16 feet, and if Tropical Storm Eta veers near Lake O, the Corps will keep the lake’s discharges going.

“We are experiencing damaging flows now. Those levels are damaging to oysters and seagrass,” said John Cassani with Calusa Waterkeeper.

“The effect of that is it’s just going to add insult to injury in terms of the Caloosahatchee estuary.”

The Caloosahatchee River is already too murky and dark, and a storm will only make things worse.

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