With levels in Lake Okeechobee rising over the past month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will increase discharges to the east and west to help ensure safe management of lake levels during the upcoming wet season.
The Corps will increase the releases starting tomorrow (March 6). The new target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be a seven-day average of 2,500 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 950 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.
"Heavy rains in the past week have caused the lake to rise," said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. "Increasing flows out of the lake will help increase storage for wet season."
Today, the lake stage is 14.72 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.
“We continue to work to move as much water south as possible,” said Greco. “However, with the flows into the lake increasing over the past week, 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. 15-027