The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will target 7-day average flows of 1,000 cubic feet per second from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) to the Caloosahatchee Estuary when local basin runoff from recent rains subsides.
Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding area received significant rainfall this past weekend. Lock operators along the Okeechobee Waterway are still managing local basin runoff in the canals on both sides of the lake. Lake Okeechobee received 3 inches of rain last weekend. January rainfall was twice the normal amount throughout the system and one of the wetter Januarys on record.
Starting Friday, February 1, a pulse release will be implemented with a target 7-day average flows of 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers, continuing the use of Additional Operational Flexibility. The St. Lucie target will remain at zero cfs. Runoff from rain in the local Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins will occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets, especially as required to manage canal levels in the Okeechobee Waterway.
"The significant rainfall we received throughout the system this past weekend reversed the previous downward trend for Lake Okeechobee," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Deputy Commander for South Florida. “The lake rose a third of a foot in the past week, and we’ll continue to see additional water flowing into the lake as it makes its way through the system from the Kissimmee River and other contributing basins.”
Today’s lake stage is 12.66 feet above sea level, which is in Operational Base Flow Sub-Band. During the past week, lake levels rose 0.36 feet, with an overall 0.03 foot drop in the past 30 days.
Water managers continue to send water south from Lake Okeechobee to the Water Conservation Areas (WCAs) in an effort to ensure the lake's multiple project purposes are met.
Previous Release Decisions:
The new release schedule began on Friday, January 25, with a constant release of 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The St. Lucie target remained at zero cfs.
Beginning on Friday, January 11, a seven-day pulse release schedule began with a target flow averaging 850 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The St. Lucie target remained at zero cfs.
Starting Friday October 5, the Corps began a gradual 3-week 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 were 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.
The Corps had maintained the 7-day average pulse release schedule of 1,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee Estuary since October 19.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management website at www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
For more information regarding the upcoming public scoping meetings for the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM), visit: www.saj.usace.army.mil/LOSOM.