Corps to continue water releases from Lake Okeechobee

Published Jan. 13, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2012) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will continue releasing water from Lake Okeechobee, sending additional fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary. 


The new release began today. The Corps is making the release in a pulse-like manner to mimic a rainfall event, similar to releases that began on December 16. The target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary for this release is an average of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a seven-day period, as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam
(S-79) east of Fort Myers. 


Water managers expect this release of water to help to push back saltwater intrusion.  Minimum freshwater releases to the Caloosahatchee River are critical in maintaining health in the estuary. 


“Weekly pulse releases have been effective not only in keeping salinity from rising in the mid estuary, but starting to reduce the peak salinities,” said John Kilpatrick, chief of Jacksonville District’s Multi-Projects Branch, which has oversight of water management at the lake. “The new pulse release is expected to further reduce salinity on the Caloosahatchee River at I-75.”


Today, the lake stage is 13.52 feet. The lake is currently within the Operational Band of the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (2008 LORS).  At current levels, the Corps may make releases up to 450 cfs to the Caloosahatchee Estuary and 200 cfs to the St. Lucie. 


The Corps and partner agencies will continue to closely monitor and assess system conditions, and may decrease releases if local basin runoff contributes to flows. 


John Campbell

Release no. 12-003