U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase water releases from Lake Okeechobee

Published Oct. 3, 2012

Jacksonville, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2012) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced plans to increase the water releases from Lake Okeechobee as part of its efforts to manage the rising lake level. 

The new target flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee River is 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock (S-77).  The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,800 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) near Stuart. 

“These additional measures are needed to manage the continued rise in the lake’s level,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District deputy commander for south Florida.  “We don’t want to release one more gallon than is necessary, but with a one-half foot rise since we started releases on September 19, it’s important that we continue using the flexibility within the regulation schedule to avert high lake levels.”

The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake. Under the LORS, the Corps strives to keep the lake level between 12.5 and 15.5 feet.  Today, the lake stage is 15.69 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band, but also within one foot of the Intermediate Band of the 2008 LORS. 

The Corps will closely monitor the releases and adjust flows as necessary to balance the competing needs and purposes of Lake Okeechobee. Public safety remains the Corps’ top priority. 

John Campbell

Release no. 12-072