JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Dec. 15, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced it will make a water release from Lake Okeechobee Friday, Dec. 16 to send additional fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
The Corps will make this release in a pulse-like manner to mimic a rainfall event. The target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary for this release is an average of 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) over the 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, which will have other associated benefits to the estuary. 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.
“The lake level and the increasing salinity levels at various gauges indicate we need to release water for environmental purposes,” said John Kilpatrick, Chief of the Jacksonville District’s Multi-Project Branch, which has oversight of water management at the lake. “Further releases will be evaluated on a case by case basis with regard to longer term lake-level prediction.”
Today, the lake stage is 13.78 feet and levels at the lake have been stable for many weeks. 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.
Release no. 11-66