The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will make a slight adjustment in target flows of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary this weekend.
Beginning Friday (Dec. 4) the new target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will increase to an average of 1,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers. The Corps doesn’t plan to release water from the lake through St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart at this time. However, runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee or the St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets as the water is allowed to pass through the spillway gates at the Franklin or St. Lucie structures.
“As we transition into December, guidance from the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule suggests additional flows to help lower the water level in advance of next summer’s wet season,” said Jim Jeffords, Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District.
Today, the lake stage is 14.50 feet, placing it just inside the Operational Low Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS allows the Corps to discharge up to 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and up to 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary based on LORS guidance.
“The increase in flows also positions us well should heavy rains develop in the next few days,” said Jeffords. “We are beginning to see an increase in precipitation fueled by El Nino conditions. We have to be ready for what the future holds.”
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. 15-100