The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will maintain flows at current rates from Lake Okeechobee to the estuaries.
Starting Friday October 26, the Corps will implement a 7 day average pulse release of 1,000 cfs as measured at the W.P Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79), which will continue until further notice. No flows are currently planned at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80). Additional runoff from rain in the local Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets.
“We will maintain our current flows of 1,000 cubic feet per second to the Caloosahatchee and zero flows to the St. Lucie,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “We will accomplish this using the additional operational flexibility that was built into the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule.”
The goal of utilizing additional operational flexibility in the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (2008 LORS) is to help manage lake levels in advance of potential El Niño conditions, which has the potential to produce a wetter than normal dry season. Water managers will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows accordingly.
“In this instance, we are using the flexibility to allow a slightly higher flow than what LORS guidance suggests,” said Reynolds. “This helps meet multiple project purposes. We are managing flood risk by creating storage for potential El Niño rains. We are also enhancing environmental conditions with this extra water to ensure the mix of saltwater and freshwater in the estuary is appropriate.”
The Corps will continue to apply operational flexibility as long as the total volume of water released with this option remains below 164,600 acre feet.
Lake Okeechobee is currently at 13.92 feet above sea level.
The previous 3-week release schedule started Friday October 5, 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 0 cfs for the St. Lucie Estuary as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart. Average target flows to the Caloosahatchee were gradually stepped down to 1,500 cfs on October 12, and 1,000 cfs on October 19, while the St. Lucie target remained at zero cfs.
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