The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District plans to reduce the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee for the first time since releases were initiated following Hurricane Irma.
Starting Friday (Nov. 17), the target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be set to 6,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock & Dam (S-77). The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will be reduced to 2,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.
“The lake is starting to slowly recede after hitting a peak of 17.2 feet last month,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “In accordance with the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule, we will begin a transition to lower releases starting this week. However, the lake remains at its highest levels in more than a decade, and rainfall this wet season has taken away any option of sending water south. We plan to continue releases at this level until December 1st, which covers the remainder of hurricane season.”
Today, the lake stage is 16.62 feet, down 0.58 feet from its post-Irma high. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary.
The Corps continues to conduct inspections of Herbert Hoover Dike. At current lake levels, the southern half of the dike is inspected twice weekly, while the northern half of the dike is inspected weekly. Inspectors report seepage around the dike has decreased as the water level has dropped. No structural issues with the dike have been identified.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 17-067