The future of Lake Okeechobee hangs in the balance as the Army Corps of Engineers works toward finishing a road map for lake management.
There are several goals the Army Corps of Engineers hope to meet with the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), including reducing the risk of harmful algal blooms and protecting Lake Okeechobee’s health, which in turn will hopefully improve other waterways, like the Caloosahatchee.
The Corps is currently moving forward with a plan called “Alternative CC,” but this is more of a framework than a set-in-stone plan.
The Corps of Engineers ran about 240,000 model runs testing different scenarios to meet different needs, from the coastal estuaries, to Lake Okeechobee, and everything in between.
From those models, 707 runs successfully met the goals of reducing stress to the Caloosahatchee and sending more lake water south.
The Corps has since narrowed the options based on eight model runs, but there is still a ways to go before reaching the finish line.
“So while we appreciate everything you’ve done so far, my message today is that we still have a ways to go to get the most benefit out of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual that our current infrastructure can possibly provide,” said Colonel James Booth with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The goal is to have the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) complete toward the end of next year.