The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District plans to maintain flows from Lake Okeechobee at current rates over the next week.
The target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary remains at a seven-day average of 2,800 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam (S-79) located near Fort Myers. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary remains at a seven-day average of 650 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart. The Corps will continue releasing water from the lake in a “pulse” fashion which means flows will vary during the seven-day release period. Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.
“We’ve seen an increase in precipitation over the past 48 hours,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District. “Although the lake has dropped slightly over the past week, additional rain is in the forecast that could reverse the trend.”
Today, the lake stage is 14.62 feet, down 0.10 feet over the past week but up nearly a foot since the lake hit its low for 2016 of 13.64 on May 17. The lake is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band (but within one foot of Intermediate Sub-Band) as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge up to 3,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and up to 1,170 cfs to the St. Lucie.
“The dry weather in July allowed us to move additional water south of the lake,” said Bronson. “We anticipate we won’t have that capacity available over the coming days as a result of the rain this week. We need to use our other options to continue managing the water level in the lake.”
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. 16-059