With water levels dropping, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will suspend flows from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie Estuary while reducing flows to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
The adjustment in discharges will take place tomorrow (May 29). The new target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be a seven-day average of 750 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The release will consist of water from Lake Okeechobee and will be supplemented as needed with flows from Nicodemus Slough operated by the South Florida Water Management District. No water from the lake is expected to be released through St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart. However, flows at either the Franklin or St. Lucie structures 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 the spillway as necessary.
“The lake dropped more than a quarter of a foot over the last week, which triggered new release guidance under our water control plan,” said Jim Jeffords, Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District. “How long flows stay at this level is dependent on the weather over the coming days and weeks.”
Today, the lake stage is 12.87 feet. It is currently in the Base Flow Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge up to 650 cfs combined to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie systems.
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. 15-058