Toxic Algae Concerns Increase After Delay From U.S. Army Corps

Lake Okeechobee

Photo: Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is delaying implementation of a new water release schedule from Lake Okeechobee.

The announcement came at a meeting of the Rivers Coalition on Thursday.

The new schedule called LOSOM was supposed to take effect this month, but will now be held off at least another six months.

Environmentalists had hoped that the changes would nearly bring to an end harmful discharges into the St. Lucie Estuary and stave off a potential toxic algae crisis.

The Army Corps says the delay is so that they can perform a review of the schedule at the request of the National Marine Fisheries Service, which wants more information on the impacts of red tide on swimming turtles and how LOSOM might effect them.

Congressman Brian Mast says he is "highly skeptical" about the delay and wonders why there was a last minute request after years of open debate.

The representative has fought for years to stop east-west discharges from the lake.

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