The Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, will not be making any releases from Lake Okeechobee to the east or west estuaries this week.
At current lake levels, the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS) allows the release of up to 650 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the lake to the estuaries. Collaborative efforts by the South Florida Water Management District and the Corps to provide additional capacity in the system south of the Lake have allowed the Corps to maximize releases south, which reduces the need to release water to the estuaries.
Today’s lake level is 13.87 feet, which is 1.38 feet higher than 30 days ago and 0.84 feet lower than the same day last year. The Corps has not made targeted regulatory releases from the lake since July 12 but has been managing local basin runoff and canal levels. The Corps also allowed a brief, 10-day release of 200 cfs from Moore Haven Lock and Dam to support an algae research project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center.
Reports from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection indicate cyanobacteria in two algae samples from the lake in the last seven days. Corps lock operators have also reported visible signs of algae in the lake near Port Mayaca over the past week. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports a bloom covering approximately 20 percent of the lake in its most recent satellite imagery although the agency also reports that the bloom potential having decreased.
The Corps continues to monitor lake levels and weather forecasts and will make release decisions based on conditions throughout the system. September is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and Lake Okeechobee water levels can rise rapidly.
Release no. 19-065