Corps continues to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee

 

Sunset at Lake Okeechobee

For the second time in the past two weeks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee.

Starting Friday (Dec. 1), the target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be reduced to 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at Moore Haven Lock & Dam (S-77). The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will be reduced to 1,800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.

“Today marks the end of hurricane season,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “The lake remains high, although it continues to recede.  We are reducing flows to the coasts based on guidance in the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule. This reflects a balance between conserving water in the lake for this dry season while reducing the lake level prior to next storm season.”

Today, the lake stage is 16.12 feet, down more than a foot from its post-Irma high (17.2 feet), but still outside the Corps’ preferred operating range of 12.5-15.5 feet. The Corps continues to conduct inspections of Herbert Hoover Dike. At current lake levels, the southern half of the dike is inspected weekly, while the northern half of the dike is inspected twice a month. No structural issues with the dike have been identified in any of the inspections since Irma passed through the area in September.

The Corps has also increased flows out of Water Conservation Area 3A into Everglades National Park. Drier conditions in southern Miami-Dade County have allowed the Corps to increase the water level in the L-29 Canal that runs parallel to Tamiami Trail.

“The level in Water Conservation Area 3 has been high all summer,” said Reynolds. “The increased flows will help accelerate the recession in that area, which is something we’ve wanted to achieve over the past few weeks.”

The Corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary. For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee and other parts of south Florida, visit the Corps’ water management website at http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.

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