Corps announces plan to lower flows from Lake Okeechobee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will transition to lower flows from Lake Okeechobee to the estuaries, starting Friday, October 5.

Starting on Friday, the Corps will begin the transition to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee by implementing 7-day pulse releases with an average target flow  for the Caloosahatchee Estuary of 2,000 cubic feet per second as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers, and zero cfs for the St. Lucie Estuary as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.

Graph of Lake Okeechobee Water Stages at various years. Current lake levels are shown in solid blue. Lake Okeechobee is currently at 14.41 feet above sea level.
Lake Okeechobee Water Stages at various years. Current lake levels are shown in solid blue. Lake Okeechobee is currently at 14.41 feet above sea level. (Photo by Jacksonville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

“Drier conditions have meant we’ve been able to move water off the lake, and make it possible to reduce flows to the estuaries,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida.

Average target flows to the Caloosahatchee will be stepped down to 1,500 cfs on October 12, and 1,000 cfs on October 19, while the St. Lucie target remains at zero cfs.

“We continue to monitor tropical activity, including a disturbance in the Gulf that could potentially bring additional rain to south Florida next week,” said Reynolds.

Extra runoff from the rain in the local Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets.

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

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