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Okeechobee Waterway (O&M)

March 2018


FACT SHEET

Okeechobee Waterway (O&M)

Operations & Maintenance

Congressional Districts: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25

1. DESCRIPTION

The project provides a 155-mile long channel across the state from Ft. Myers to Stuart. Maintained depth ranges from eight to ten feet. The waterway runs through Lake Okeechobee and consists of the Caloosahatchee River on the west side of the lake and the St. Lucie Canal on the east side. Included in the project are navigation locks at Ortona, Moore Haven, and St. Lucie. Additional locks at W.P. Franklin and Port Mayaca authorized under the Central and Southern Florida project are also located within the waterway. Each lock provides recreational and public access facilities for year round use. The waterway serves navigation, recreation as well as flood risk management as regulatory releases of water from Lake Okeechobee can be made into the St. Lucie Canal and the Caloosahatchee River.

The Okeechobee Waterway is a popular and heavily used waterway. The lake is primarily used for recreation, but it is also used for commercial navigation, including tug/barge combinations and commercial fishing vessels. Based on the 2002 Inland Navigation Economic Evaluation, the waterway serves over 6.6 million visitors and generates over $55 million annually. Should this waterway be lost, it would result in a $22.7 million annual loss to the surrounding economy.

2. FUNDING

Allocation for FY18 TBD
President’s Budget FY19 $2,320,000

3. SPONSOR

West of and including the St. Lucie Lock:
South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33406

East of the St. Lucie Lock:
Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND)
1314 Marcinski Road
Jupiter, Florida 33477

4. STATUS

The O&M funding allocated in FY 2018 will be expended for the annual operation and routine maintenance of the Ortona, Moore Haven and St. Lucie navigation locks. Funds will be expended for sustainability activities, and for the operation and maintenance of visitor and recreation areas and facilities. Also, funds will be expended to manage habitat, fire, wildlife, fisheries, aquatic plants, endangered and protected species, control encroachments, and provide shoreline management, boundary line surveillance, and cultural resources protection on OWW project lands and waters.