U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reduces Lake Okeechobee water releases

Published Oct. 31, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Oct. 31, 2012) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District will 
reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Estuaries beginning Thursday, Nov. 1.

The target flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 2,250 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 850 cfs measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) near Stuart. The actual discharges may be different due to local runoff. When local runoff is lower than the target releases, lake discharges will be made to supplement local runoff. If the local runoff is higher than the target releases, no discharges will be made from the lake. This water release level will be maintained until a new recommendation is made based on future conditions.

"Although the lake level is still high and inflows continue, overall conditions present an opportunity to reduce releases,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District deputy district commander for south Florida.  “We'll continue to monitor the system and make adjustments as necessary, to most effectively balance multiple needs. Public safety remains the Corps’ top priority."

The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for managing the lake. Under LORS, the Corps strives to keep the lake level between 12.5 and 15.5 feet. Today, the lake stage is 15.82 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band, but also within 1 foot of the Intermediate Band of the 2008 LORS. 

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management webpage at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

Nancy J. Sticht

Release no. 12-081