As levels at Lake Okeechobee continue to fall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has further reduced the amount of water flowing from the lake to the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie Canal.
The Corps has suspended water releases from the lake to the St. Lucie Estuary, although runoff from the St Lucie Canal will be allowed to pass through the St. Lucie Lock as needed. The Corps is adjusting the target flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee Estuary down to 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. Local runoff outside the lake into the Caloosahatchee River could cause flows to exceed this target.
“Drier weather is now starting to take hold in the area,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District deputy commander for south Florida. “In the St. Lucie area, we can cut flows immediately with little impact. However, we need to make a slower transition to reduced flows in the Caloosahatchee Estuary to give marine life an opportunity to adjust to the changing conditions.”
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 15.67 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band, but also within 1 foot of the Intermediate Band of the 2008 LORS.
The Corps will closely monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary to balance the competing needs and purposes of Lake Okeechobee. Public safety remains the Corps’ top priority.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management page at the Jacksonville District website:
Release no. 12-085