With the rise in Lake Okeechobee accelerating, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has announced its intent to increase flows to higher levels as water managers continue to confront challenges brought about by El Nino conditions.
Starting Saturday (Jan. 30), the new target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 6,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock (S-77) located in the southwest part of the lake. The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 2,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock (S-80) near Stuart. Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee or the St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.
“The lake jumped a quarter of a foot over the past 24 hours,” said Jim Jeffords, Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District. “With heavy rains contributing to increased flows and challenges throughout the system, we must use all available tools to protect the health and safety of people living and working in south Florida.”
Today, the lake stage is 15.79 feet and rising. Over the weekend, it is expected to move into the Intermediate Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge up to 6,500 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and up to 2,800 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. 16-010