Corps to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee

Corps to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee in preparation for upcoming dry season.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District plans to reduce flows from Lake Okeechobee this weekend as it begins a transition toward dry-season operations.

Starting Friday (Oct. 28), the target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be reduced to 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 will be reduced to a seven-day average of 800 cfs as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam (S-80) near Stuart.

Additionally, the Corps is reviewing options to implement further reductions in flows from Lake Okeechobee as dry season approaches.  Details of future discharge reductions remain in development and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The lake continues to recede,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District.  “With wet season winding down, we intend to start transitioning toward dry-season flows, which will be much lower.  We want this transition to be done in a manner that doesn’t cause a shock to the environment by reducing flows too quickly.”

Today, the lake stage is 15.61 feet, down 0.23 feet over the past week. 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 also occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.  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.

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