JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2012) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will extend water releases from Lake Okeechobee, in an effort to offset rising levels of saltwater in the Caloosahatchee River as part of the multi-purpose project responsibilities.
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 Dec. 16. The target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary for this release is an average of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a 10-day period, as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) east of Fort Myers. The 10-day pulse release will allow relatively larger discharge rates during the first half of the 10-day period.
Water managers are making a slight adjustment in the release pattern, in the hopes the delivery will help push back saltwater intrusion, which has been on the rise in recent weeks in the Caloosahatchee.
“The Corps, in consultation with our stakeholders, is changing the delivery pattern of the pulse release,” said John Kilpatrick, chief of the Jacksonville District’s Multi-Projects Branch, which has oversight of water management at the lake. “We hope that this new pulse release will lower the average current salinity levels in the Caloosahatchee Estuary.”
Today, the lake stage is 13.13 feet. The lake is currently within the Operational Band of the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (2008 LORS). 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.
Release no. 12-016