Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) (O&M)

June 2021

FACT SHEET

Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) (O&M)
Operations and Maintenance
Congressional Districts: 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25

1. DESCRIPTION

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is re-evaluating Lake Okeechobee operations to coincide with the completion of Herbert Hoover Dike (HHD) rehabilitation in 2022. The goal of the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) effort is to incorporate flexibility in Lake Okeechobee operations, while balancing the congressionally authorized project purposes for flood control, water supply, recreation, navigation, environmental effects to fish and wildlife, and cultural and recreational resources. The LOSOM effort will also consider the future Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) infrastructure that will provide additional flexibility for lake operation.

Section 1106 of the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) states, “The Secretary shall expedite completion of the Lake Okeechobee regulation schedule to coincide with completion of the Herbert Hoover Dike project, and may include all relevant aspects of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan described in section 601 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 2680).”

The result of the LOSOM effort will be a new system operating manual (SOM) for Lake Okeechobee and the accompanying National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation. Regulation schedules will be developed for two future increments, 2022 coinciding with HHD completion and 2025 coinciding with completion of current environmental infrastructure under construction. Each increment will have NEPA documentation to allow for immediate implementation as new infrastructure comes online.

2. FUNDING

Allocation for FY21 $1,337,000
President’s Budget FY22 $0
 

3. SPONSOR

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD)
3301 Gun Club Road
West Palm Beach, Florida  33406

4. STATUS

The LOSOM effort began in late 2018 with development of a Project Management Plan and engaging stakeholders influenced by lake operations via 10 NEPA scoping meetings conducted throughout February and March 2019. Stakeholder feedback has informed the objectives of the operational planning effort and contributed to the current Plan Formulation phase. Stakeholder input was gathered to develop performance metrics and water management tools to build conceptual alternatives. Modeling and evaluation of the conceptual plans was completed in January 2021. The alternative development and evaluation process will continue with construction of balanced lake schedules during the spring of 2021, culminating with selection of the recommended lake schedule in July 2021. The Record of Decision for the new SOM is scheduled for December 2022.

map of area covered by LOSOM