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

May 2023

FACT SHEET

Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM)
Operations and Maintenance (O&M)
Congressional Districts: 8, 9, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

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 January 2023. 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 for agricultural, municipal and environmental uses, recreation, navigation, and enhancement of fish and wildlife.

Section 1106 of the 2018 Water Resources Development Act 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 (CERP) described in section 601 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 2680).” Thus, the LOSOM effort also considers the future Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan infrastructure that will provide additional flexibility for lake operation, but LOSOM is not a CERP effort. Future evaluation of Lake Okeechobee operations under CERP will be triggered by CERP storage infrastructure north and south of the lake.

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) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The operating plan will cover 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

2. FUNDING

Allocation for FY23 $286,000
President’s Budget FY24 $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 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 of balanced lake schedules was conducted during the spring and summer of 2021 and continued the feedback loop with stakeholders to inform narrowing of alternatives and determining the LOSOM vision of balanced performance. The process culminated with the selection of the preferred alternative lake schedule in August 2021. The optimization process of the preferred alternative in the fall of 2021 resulted in the optimized recommended lake schedule presented in October 2021. The development of operational guidance to accompany the lake schedule in the LOSOM water control plan (WCP) was completed in the spring of 2022. The draft EIS and WCP was released for 60-day public and agency review in July 2022. The Record of Decision for the new SOM is scheduled for June 2023.

Click to see full-sized map of project area