The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has announced restrictions for lock operations on the Okeechobee Waterway due to receding water levels on Lake Okeechobee, effective immediately.
Locking operations at the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam near Fort Myers and the St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart will be conducted every two hours from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. This action is the result of the water level at Lake Okeechobee falling below 12.5 feet.
“This is standard operating procedure whenever the lake falls below 12.5 feet” said Steve Dunham, Chief of the Corps’ South Florida Operations Office. “We encourage boaters to be aware of the lake level and consider that drafts will continue to decrease if the lake drops more in coming weeks.”
Under the updated schedule, boats will be locked through at the Franklin and St. Lucie Locks at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Operations at the other three locks, Ortona, Moore Haven, and Port Mayaca, will continue on demand between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. with final lockage beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Should the lake drop below 11.5 feet, additional reductions in service will be necessary. For more information on navigation notices concerning the Okeechobee Waterway, please visit the following website:
Release no. 15-064