The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will adjust the target flows to the Caloosahatchee River as part of its efforts to slow the rise in water levels at Lake Okeechobee.
Beginning Saturday (July 19), the new target flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary is a 10-day average of 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) near Fort Myers. However, this change will likely have little impact as local runoff into the Caloosahatchee River has regularly exceeded this target in recent days. Runoff will continued to be allowed to pass through Franklin as necessary.
The target flow for the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) is unchanged at 0 cfs, although local basin runoff from the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) will continue to be allowed to pass through the St. Lucie Lock as has been the case for much of the past month.
“The increased target flow to the west allows us to release lake water when the opportunity presents itself while attempting to keep discharge rates below the high-flow harm threshold of 2,800 cfs at S-79 (Franklin Lock),” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida.
Today, the lake stage is 13.58 feet. It is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band of the Corps’ water control plan, the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). In the Low Sub-Band, under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie.
“The lake is a foot-and-a-half lower than it was at this point last year, however it has continued to rise for over a month and has risen over a quarter foot just in the last week,” said Greco. “The target adjustment is appropriate given current and forecasted conditions although we will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments as necessary based on LORS guidance.”
For information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the water management web page at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 14-038