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  • WPTV

Is Lake Okeechobee's water level too high? Head of Florida Oceanographic Society says yes

Mark Perry believes Army Corps of Engineers left lake levels too high in spring

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The rainy season is far from over and worries grow about what that could mean for communities on the Treasure Coast and in Palm Beach County.

The water level in Lake Okeechobee is at 15.3 feet. The Army Corps of Engineers is on record saying if that level rises to 16.5 feet, it will trigger big discharges of water to the east and west to protect lake communities from flooding concerns.

Mark Perry, who heads the Florida Oceanographic Society, did not mince words.

"It will be devastating (if it happens)," Perry said.

The problem, as Perry sees it, is that the Corps left lake levels too high in late spring and now may have no choice but to open the spigot wide, so to speak, if tropical weather swells the lake. The Corps has argued it must deal with many competing needs – agriculture and thirsty crops, navigational needs and flood concerns.

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