Water Quality and the St. Lucie River

  • Port Mayaca June 13, 2018
  • St. Lucie River June 13, 2018
  • St. Lucie Inlet at low tide June 13, 2018
  • C44 near Port Mayaca June 13, 2018
  • C44 looking east June 13, 2018

June 20, 2018

As of Wednesday, June 20, the level in Lake Okeechobee is 14.05. Inflows continue at around 5046 cfs. The Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule allowable releases to the St. Lucie Estuary has dropped down to 1170 cfs beginning Friday, June 22.

At the June 12 Board of County Commission meeting, staff was directed to draft a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that should releases continue, any releases be pulsed to coincide with the tides. A pulsed release schedule would allow for an increase in salinity, which is beneficial to the system. The USACE manages releases from Lake Okeechobee and considers factors such as the lake level, forecasted weather systems, conditions in connected tributaries, and the availability of additional water storage in their decision-making.

Algae has been reported in various locations in our area and Florida Department of Environmental Protection is collecting samples for testing and reporting the results, as they are available.

Martin County staff is conducting visual checks on sites throughout our area and continues to participate in weekly calls with the USACE and other partners, advocating on behalf of our citizens and waterways.

What can we expect?

The additional water from the lake, combined with local basin runoff, will increase the amount of freshwater in the St. Lucie River leading to the Atlantic Ocean.

The additional freshwater is often darker in color than Atlantic water, and a distinct line forms where the freshwater meets the salt water. The darkness of the freshwater is caused by tannins in the water. Tannins are natural, organic matter commonly found in freshwater systems. 

Are there any safety concerns?

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Florida’s water management districts collect samples when algal blooms are observed. View DEP's sampling results here

Citizens are advised, if they have any suspected algae-related illness or health effects due to exposure, to see their physician and report illness to the Florida Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

What can I do to help and how can I stay informed?

We ask our citizens to continually visit this page for updates as this page is dedicated to water quality in the St. Lucie River and Estuary. You can also follow our "Speak Up For The St. Lucie" Facebook page here.

Become a Water Ambassador: 

  • The Martin County Water Ambassador training is a one day education program that empowers residents who have an interest in protecting local waterways and giving back to their communities. The program, in partnership with Martin County and the University of Florida IFAS Extension, provides a way for motivated individuals to connect personal decisions with information about lagoon-friendly practices. Dates for future classes to come. 

Report an Algae Bloom

Martin County reminds residents they should avoid any contact with algae blooms and stay out of waters where it is present. Please report algae blooms or sightings to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at (855) 305-3903 or online here.

Report Impacts on Fish and Wildlife

Fish kills or other wildlife impacted by poor water quality should be reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) at (800) 636-0511 or online here.