The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has announced it will increase the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River in response to rising lake levels.
Beginning Saturday (Dec. 22), the Corps will adjust the target flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee Estuary upward to a 7-day average of 1,500 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. No releases are planned to the St. Lucie Estuary, although runoff from the St Lucie Canal will continue to pass through the St. Lucie Lock as needed.
The release is roughly half of what is currently authorized under the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake. The lake has risen over the past two weeks due to significant precipitation in the area. The stage today is 15.16 feet.
“This is a very challenging water management scenario,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District deputy commander for south Florida. “Wet conditions have caused the lake to rise, and while we face a dry seasonal forecast, there is a wet multi-seasonal forecast. This action puts the Corps in a position where releases can be increased if wet conditions continue, or decreased if dry conditions develop, with minimal impact to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.”
The Corps will closely monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary to balance the competing needs and purposes of Lake Okeechobee.
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. 12-095