USACE Begins Lake Okeechobee Releases to Caloosahatchee

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District
Published Oct. 28, 2022
Photo of Port Mayaca Lock and Dam and Lake Okeechobee

Port Mayaca Lock and Dam and Lake Okeechobee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will make releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) at a seven-day average pulse release of 1,200 cubic feet per second beginning Saturday, Oct. 29. No lake releases are planned for the St. Lucie Estuary.

The target is right in the middle of the REstoration COordination & VERification (RECOVER) optimal flow envelope for the Caloosahatchee. Water from the lake will only be released in amounts needed to supplement local basin runoff to meet the downstream target of 1,200 cfs, and the target is consistent with South Florida Water Management District’s position statement for this week.

“Lake Okeechobee rose more than 2.5 feet in the month since Hurricane Ian brought historic rainfall to the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes,” said Lt. Col. Todd Polk, Jacksonville District deputy commander for South Florida. “The rise in lake stage has slowed significantly over the past week, providing an opportunity to start making lake releases within the RECOVER optimal flow envelope.”

RECOVER 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.

USACE also expects to begin executing the HHD Surveillance Plan as the lake approaches 16 feet. At that stage, teams will begin inspecting the south side of the lake from Moore Haven to Belle Glade every two weeks. If the lake rises to 16.5 feet, the frequency of inspections on the south side of the lake increase to weekly and the remainder of the dike begins receiving inspections every two weeks.

HHD was inspected thoroughly following Hurricane Ian and no problems were identified.

Lake Okeechobee is 15.74 feet today. That is approximately 3.5 inches higher than last week, 2 feet 5 inches higher than 30 days ago, and 1.5 inches lower than it was on this day last year.

Jim Yocum
(904) 232-3914

Release no. 22-065