FORT MYERS (FOX 13) - Governor Rick Scott is expected to issue a state of emergency for toxic algae blooms in southwest Florida.
The area of concern is Caloosahatchee River, which runs through Fort Myers, and the algae blooms are a result from the Army Corps of Engineers’ water releases from Lake Okeechobee, according to the governor's office. The releases started in June.
Heavy rainfall led to higher water levels in the lake. The U.S. Army Corps decided to release the murky lake water into the river, but has since announced they will suspend discharges from Lake Okeechobee starting Monday at 7 a.m. They released the following statement, according to FOX 4:
"As we look at operations in the system, we believe we can pause discharges for a short time to get additional input from staff on available options for moving water," said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander. "We have implemented higher stages in the canal along the Tamiami Trail and we have implemented deviations to generate flexibility in operations at the southern end of the system to move additional water south. We want to ensure we are using all available flexibility before we resume discharges east and west."
On Monday morning, the governor toured Caloosahatchee River for a closer look. He recently ordered the Department of Environment Protection to issue an emergency declaration to redirect the flow of water out of Lake Okeechobee, FOX 4 reports.
Stay with FOX 13 for any updates.