U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reduces water releases from Lake Okeechobee

St. Lucie Spillway, Stuart  (Source: US Army Corps of Engineers)

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District, has announced in an October 18 press release that the USACE has reduced the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee as a result of changes in seasonal forecasts

The new target flow from the lake to the Caloosahatchee Estuary is 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) as measured at W.P. Franklin Lock (S-79) near Fort Myers.  The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary is 1,170 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) near Stuart.  Local runoff outside the lake into the Caloosahatchee River and the St Lucie Canal may cause flows that exceed these targets.

“The change in flows is based on stabilizing lake levels and a change in the seasonal forecast that calls for normal precipitation patterns as opposed to very wet conditions in the coming weeks,” said Lt. Col. Tom Greco, Jacksonville District deputy commander for south Florida.

The release is being conducted in accordance with the 2008 Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS), the master plan for water management of the lake. Under the LORS, the Corps strives to keep the lake level between 12.5 and 15.5 feet.  Today, the lake stage is 15.89 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band, but also within 1 foot of the Intermediate Band of the 2008 LORS.

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/reports.htm

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