The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee to help offset impacts to the saltwater-freshwater mix to the St. Lucie Estuary.
The adjustment in discharges will take place tomorrow (March 20). 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. The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary is unchanged at a seven-day average of 2,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. 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 rain over the past few weeks has caused a decrease in salinity in the St. Lucie estuary " said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. "The Corps is reducing flows to strike the right balance between a need to reduce the lake level and adversely affecting the environment. Salinity remains in the good range in the Caloosahatchee Estuary, so we plan to stay with the current flow pattern for releases to the west."
Today, the lake stage is 14.46 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.
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. 15-038