The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced restrictions on lock operations on the Okeechobee Waterway due to falling water levels on Lake Okeechobee.
Effective Thursday, June 5, locking operations at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam near Fort Myers and the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart will be conducted every two hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. This action is the result of the water level at Lake Okeechobee falling below 12.5 feet.
“This is standard operating procedure whenever the lake falls below 12.5 feet” said Steve Dunham, Chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office. “We encourage boaters to be aware of the lake level and consider that drafts will continue to decrease if the lake drops more in coming weeks. ”
The updated schedule means that lockages will occur at Franklin and St. Lucie at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. Operations at the other three locks, Ortona, Moore Haven, and Port Mayaca, will continue on demand between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Should the lake drop below 11.5 feet, additional reductions in service will be necessary. A Notice to Navigation has been issued on this subject. For more information on navigation notices concerning the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:
Release no. 14-026