The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will suspend additional releases of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary as a result of falling lake levels.
Within the past week, the lake level fell below 12.6 feet, into the Operational Beneficial Use Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (2008 LORS). When this occurs, water management decisions are driven largely on recommendations from the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). The current recommendation from the SFWMD is to discontinue flows. Thus, effective Friday, the Corps will suspend discharges of Lake Okeechobee water to the Caloosahatchee Estuary, although runoff from rain that accumulates in the Caloosahatchee River basin will still be allowed to pass through structures as necessary.
“Our releases from the lake for the foreseeable future will focus on maintaining canal levels for navigation and meeting water supply needs,” said Jim Jeffords, Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District. “The framework in LORS provides guidance to defer a large part of our decision to the recommendations we receive from our partners at the water management district when the lake level drops below 12.6 feet.”
Today, the lake stage is 12.53 feet. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and make adjustments as necessary.
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. 15-060