The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will increase discharges from Lake Okeechobee as part of its ongoing effort to manage water levels.
The releases will increase starting tomorrow (Feb. 27). The new target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be a seven-day average of 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will be a seven-day average of 730 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart. Flows at one or both locations could occasionally be exceeded by runoff from rain that accumulates in the Caloosahatchee or St. Lucie basins—those flows will be allowed to pass through structures as necessary.
"The lake level is unchanged from where it was at the beginning of February," said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. "An increase in flows will help with the lowering of the lake so we’re in a better position when the wet season arrives."
Today, the lake stage is 14.68 feet. It is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge up to 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and up to 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie.
“The lake remains at its highest level for this time of year since 2006,” said Greco. “We are working with the South Florida Water Management District to move as much water south as possible. However, to bring the lake down, we have to use all available options within the system.”
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.
Release no. 15-024