The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will 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. Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.
“Recent rain has accelerated the rise in the lake’s water level,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District. “Runoff from rain has also impacted coastal estuaries, so we aren’t getting as much water off the lake as we have in previous weeks.”
Today, the lake stage is 15.10 feet, up 0.26 feet over the past week. The lake is currently in the Operational Low Sub-Band as defined by the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS). Under current conditions, LORS authorizes the Corps to discharge up to 4,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and up to 1,800 cfs to the St. Lucie.
“Very little capacity exists to send any water south, as rain has been heavier over the water conservation areas in recent days,” said Bronson. “We are working with the South Florida Water Management District to manage inflows to the lake from the Kissimmee River. Rain over the next few days will ultimately determine whether we need to make changes.”
The Corps will continue releasing water from the lake in a “pulse” fashion which means flows will vary during the seven-day release period. Many have credited this practice with reducing environmental impacts from the discharges in recent weeks.
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. 16-073