Following up on last week's Governing Board meeting, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Monday requested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) initiate lake releases to the Caloosahatchee Estuary to address growing concerns about algae blooms.
The target flow for the pulse release to the Caloosahatchee Estuary is an average flow of 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a three-day period, measured at the Franklin Lock (S-79) in eastern Lee County.
Citing drought and low water conditions the SFWMD selectively cut off the river and estuary freshwater supply on March 26 even though no other users were rationed or cut off. Without flow the river upstream of the Franklin Lock becomes stagnant and harmful algae blooms began appearing.
On April 12 the Lee County Health Department issued an Advisory warning the public to beware of water conditions in the Caloosahatchee. On April 13 the Hendry and Glades County Health Departments issued similar warnings. ?Earlier this month, the SFWMD Governing Board authorized the staff to make releases to address the algae concerns. After 28 days without freshwater flows these releases in conjunction with the rain this past weekend area welcome relief to the system.