Martin County update on Lake O

Lake O discharges at St. Lucie Lock and Dam

Lake Okeechobee was at 17.16 feet as of Sunday, October 8, and continues to increase with inflows from the Kissimmee of approximately 22,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).

The Lake was at 15.67 feet on Tuesday, September 19. “Maximum practicable flows” to the St. Lucie River are being made from the Lake, meaning that the Army Corps of Engineers is releasing as much water as they can, taking into account downstream constraints such as high tides and flood protection.

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) began Lake Okeechobee releases to the St. Lucie Estuary on September 15, 2017 at 0700 hours.

The amount of the freshwater release from Lake Okeechobee will vary depending on tidal cycles.

During high tides, less water will be able to pass through S-80. During low tides, the ACOE will maximize flows out of Lake Okeechobee given any tidal and/or C-44 canal level constraints. The water estimated to be released from the Lake will be in the range of 2,000-4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Those amounts can vary given tidal constraints to release water through S-80.

The ACOE announced that as of Tuesday, September 19, they will release as much water as practical through the spillway at Moore Haven Lock and Dam (S-77) located on the southwest side of the lake. Flows will vary based on downstream conditions in the Caloosahatchee River/Estuary.

This is the same operation that they announced for the St. Lucie on Friday, September 15. So both east and west coastal estuaries are getting maximum practical flows from the Lake depending on downstream conditions. The ACOE stated that the goal of these actions is to slow the rise of Lake Okeechobee, especially with 9 weeks left of the official hurricane season.

Martin County is fully engaged in communicating with all agencies in response to local water conditions and the protection of human health. This includes providing public information, establishing signage at waterways advising to avoid contact with the water, keeping people out of the water when blue-green algae is present, and monitoring any reports of illness.

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