The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will step down releases from Lake Okeechobee for the third time in the past month.
Starting Friday (Dec. 8), the Corps will initiate 7-day pulse releases with an average target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary of 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers, and 1,170 cfs for the St. Lucie Estuary as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.
“Hurricane season just ended, but we are preparing for the next wet season,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “The lake and Water Conservation 3A remain high, as a result of Irma. We are reducing flows to the coasts based on guidance in the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule.”
Today, the lake stage is 15.87 feet, down more than a foot from its post-Irma high (17.2 feet), but still outside the Corps’ preferred operating range of 12.5-15.5 feet. The Corps continues to conduct inspections of Herbert Hoover Dike. At current lake levels, both the southern and the northern half of the dike are inspected twice a month. No structural issues with the dike have been identified in any of the inspections since Irma passed through the area in September.
“We appreciate the input from our stakeholders and the agencies as we work together to balance all of the water related needs for the natural system and built environments,” said Reynolds. “These releases will help put us in a better position for the next wet season.”
The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary. For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee and other parts of south Florida, visit the Corps’ water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 17-074