The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will transition to lower flows from Lake Okeechobee to the estuaries, starting Friday, October 5.
“Drier conditions have meant we’ve been able to move water off the lake, and make it possible to reduce flows to the estuaries,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “That includes a zero flow target for the St. Lucie, and a gradual transition down to 1,000 cubic feet per second for the Caloosahatchee over the next three weeks.”
Starting Friday October 5, the Corps will begin the transition to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee by implementing 7-day pulse releases with an average target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary of 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers, and zero cfs for the St. Lucie Estuary as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.
Average target flows to the Caloosahatchee will be stepped down to 1,500 cfs on October 12, and 1,000 cfs on October 19, while the St. Lucie target remains at zero cfs.
“We continue to monitor tropical activity, including a disturbance in the Gulf that could potentially bring additional rain to south Florida next week,” said Reynolds.
“We value the input we receive from scientists, stakeholders and agency partners, which informs the Corps’ decision-making process,” said Laureen Borochaner, Chief of the Engineering Division.
Additional runoff from rain in the local Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets.
Lake Okeechobee is currently at 14.41 feet above sea level. During the past week, lake levels receded 0.25 feet, with a 0.20 foot drop in the past 30 days.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Jacksonville District water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 18-073