US Army Corps of Engineers
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RECOVER Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure approved

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published April 15, 2020
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation regenerates at Cochrans Pass on Lake Okeechobee

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation regenerates at Cochrans Pass on Lake Okeechobee

The RECOVER Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure used to evaluate regional scenarios for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) has been approved by the RECOVER (Restoration, Coordination & Verification) Executive Committee.

The Draft Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure was available online for a 30-day public and agency review period. Comments were accepted December 5, 2019 through January 3, 2020. Comments received were evaluated and used to update the Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure prior to review by the executive committee.

RECOVER (REstoration COordination & VERification) is a multi-agency team of scientists, modelers, planners and resource specialists who organize and apply scientific and technical information in ways that are essential in supporting the objectives of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

The RECOVER team conducts scientific and technical evaluations and assessments for improving CERP’s ability to restore, preserve and protect the south Florida ecosystem while providing for the region's other water-related needs. RECOVER applies a system-wide perspective to the planning and implementation of the CERP and communicates and coordinates the results of these evaluations and assessments to managers, decision makers and the public.

The RECOVER Executive Committee reviews and evaluates the RECOVER Team’s recommendations, and has approved the RECOVER Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure.

“The RECOVER Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure that represents the conclusions of scientists and planners charged with researching and applying scientific information to restore and protect the Everglades, has been approved by the RECOVER Executive Committee,” said Angie Dunn, Jacksonville District’s Environmental Branch Chief. “Performance measures are tools to allow managers to assess and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of CERP implementation.”

View the RECOVER Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure, along with the comment response matrix, at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/RECOVER/.

As restoration of the Everglades progresses, it is important to be able to estimate the ecological response to restoration projects and the program as a whole. Performance measures are tools to allow managers to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the CERP.

The Lake Okeechobee Stage Performance Measure establishes an ecological stage envelope that defines ideal stages for normal conditions (Normal Envelope) or lower stages (Recovery Envelope) intended to promote recovery of fish and wildlife and their habitats after damaging high-water events. The performance measure has been developed to evaluate water levels for a suite of ecological indicators, including fish and wildlife and their aquatic and wetland habitats.

The Normal Envelope varies around a 12.0 ft. – 15.0 ft. (3.66 – 4.57 m) seasonally variable stage, and the Recovery Envelope is for lake stages to vary seasonally from between 11.5 – 12.5 ft. (3.5 – 3.8 m) in the summer and 14.5 – 15.5 ft. (4.4 – 4.7 m) in the winter.  The ecological envelope varies between Normal or Recovery conditions, depending on whether impacts from high-water or tropical storm events necessitate lower stages for vegetation recovery. Lake stages within the envelope allow for seasonal flooding and drying of littoral marshes which promotes good habitat and healthy fish and wildlife populations. Should lake stages occur outside of the stage envelope, they would not go above or below extreme stage thresholds, defined as 17 ft. (5.2 m) and 10 ft. (3.1 m), respectively. The desired restoration condition for the Lake Okeechobee stage envelope is related to improvements resulting from hydrologic management and in-lake and watershed restoration projects.

Additional information on RECOVER is available at: www.saj.usace.army.mil/RECOVER/


Contact
Erica Skolte
561-801-5734 (cell)
Erica.A.Skolte@usace.army.mil

Release no. 20-031