The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District continues to monitor conditions and has adjusted releases from Lake Okeechobee accordingly.
Starting Saturday, April 20, the Corps will reduce the pulse release to the Caloosahatchee estuary to a 7-day average rate of 800 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). Flows to the St. Lucie estuary remain at zero cfs as measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80). This schedule will remain in effect until further notice. Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets.
“Our efforts to build resilience in the coastal estuaries, improve the health of Lake Okeechobee, and bring the lake down lower this year have started to achieve the results we’ve been looking for. Submerged aquatic vegetation such as eel grass has started to regenerate, which improves water quality and habitat in the lake, and salinities in the estuaries are in a good range for oyster spawning. We are better positioned this year, with more capacity to deal with storms and reduce the chances of high releases during the hot summer months when algae is most likely to bloom,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Deputy Commander for south Florida. “We continue to work closely with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District as we approach the low end of the schedule. We recognize the importance of water supply, and we remain committed to balancing all the project purposes.”
Today’s lake stage is 11.56 feet NGVD. During the past week, lake levels were reduced by 0.21 feet, with an overall 0.62 foot reduction in the past 30 days. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary. Any changes in flows to the estuaries will be announced to the public.
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.
Release no. 19-016