The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District resumed releases at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam (S-308) and the St. Lucie Lock and Dam at (S-80) on the morning of March 2, following a temporary closure at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam on Monday, Feb. 27.“Based on the test results and improved conditions onsite this morning, releases were resumed at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam”, said Col. James Booth, Jacksonville District Commander. “Though we have been able to get the lake down more than half a foot in the past 30 days, the lake elevation is still at 15.5 today. Our goal continues to be to bring the lake down for the next few months, so that we are in a better position prior to the beginning of the wet season. We will continue to monitor conditions closely along with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District. We greatly appreciate their excellent technical support and quick turnaround on sampling results, which enables us to make informed decisions.”
“The St. Lucie Lock and Dam will also resume the scheduled 500 cubic feet per second releases,” said Booth. “These releases have helped us to bring lake levels down, while salinity levels in the St. Lucie Estuary remain in the middle of the optimum range for oysters.”
”When possible, we will avoid making releases during times when algal blooms are present on the lake or at our structures,” Booth said. “We will continue to provide information to the public about the presence of algal blooms near our structures, facilities, and waterways we manage, while we continue to implement our dry season strategy.”
The Corps continues to monitor conditions closely at Port Mayaca Lock and Dam, in coordination with the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). Yesterday afternoon, SFWMD crews treated both the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam and lakeside with a peroxide-based algaecide.
Test results from Tuesday’s sample from Port Mayaca by the SFWMD were returned with Microcystin levels below the detection limit. On Thursday morning, no visible algae was observed at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam.
Water samples in the St. Lucie Canal last week showed barely detectable levels of microcystin toxin well below the level the EPA considers safe for drinking water. In an abuadance of caution, releases from Lake Okeechobee were halted until the water was treated with algaecide and samples found no toxins.