The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will continue water discharges from Lake Okeechobee at current rates.
The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary remains unchanged at 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock & Dam (S-77) located on the southwest side of the lake. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary remains at 1,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart. Additional runoff from rain in the St. Lucie basin could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.
“While the rise in the lake has slowed, forecasts call for above-average precipitation over the coming days and weeks,” said Jim Jeffords, Jacksonville District Operations Division Chief. “We have to continue releasing water to stay on top of the lake’s rise. Water has the potential to come into the lake much faster than we can get it out.”
The Corps continues to exchange information with state agencies on algal blooms that have developed over the past two weeks in Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and the St. Lucie Canal and River.
“We believe holding water in the lake presents a larger health risk than releasing it,” said Jeffords. “We are at the beginning of wet season, the lake is in an elevated state, and significant precipitation is in the forecast. Should the lake continue its rise, and a storm similar to Isaac or Fay develops, the resulting water level would take us to an area where the dike has historically had problems. ”
Today, the lake stage is 14.38 feet, up 0.74 feet since hitting its low for calendar year 2016 on May 17. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows 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. 16-037