Corps to continue water releases from Lake Okeechobee

The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 250 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock near Stuart.  The target flow will include lake water, and any runoff that might be collected in the St Lucie Canal. (Source: Open Space Restoration)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District announced it will continue with water releases from Lake Okeechobee at least through early June as part of its effort to manage lake levels for the upcoming wet season.

The Corps has developed another 10-day schedule of releases that will begin on Tuesday (May 28) for the Caloosahatchee Estuary.  The target flow over the 10-day period is 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) over as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers.  The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 250 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock near Stuart.  The target flow will include lake water, and any runoff that might be collected in the St Lucie Canal.

The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake.  Today, the lake stage is 13.40 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band.  Under current conditions, the Corps is authorized to release up to 2,000 cfs to the Caloosahatchee and 730 cfs to the St. Lucie.  The releases are currently being held below those levels to minimize impacts to the environment.

“These low-volume releases help reduce the probability of higher volume discharges later in the wet season,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida.  “We want to proactively manage the lake to avoid a situation where we have higher stages and fewer options on where to move water.”

The Corps will closely monitor the releases and adjust flows as necessary to balance the competing needs and purposes of Lake Okeechobee.  Public safety remains the Corps’ top priority.

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management page at the Jacksonville District website:  http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml

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