US Army Corps of Engineers to increase water releases from Lake Okeechobee

(Source: US Army Corps of Engineers)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has announced plans to increase the water releases from Lake Okeechobee as part of efforts to manage the rising lake level.

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 13.92 feet, which is within the Low Operational Sub-Band.  Runoff from heavy rains in the area has prevented any discharges from the lake since June 6.

As runoff subsides, lake water will gradually be released until target flows are achieved.  The Corps has developed a release schedule for seven days that will begin on Monday (June 17).  The average target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary over the seven-day period has been increased to 2,500 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 950 cfs, as measured at the St. Lucie Lock near Stuart.  The target flows will include lake water, and any runoff that might be collected in the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie canal.

“Managing water in south Florida requires a well-coordinated response with our local partner, the South Florida Water Management District,” said Col. Alan Dodd, Jacksonville District Commander.  “The Water Management District has maximized its capacity to send water to the south of the lake and we are working to ensure minimal flows are coming from the north out of the Kissimmee basin.  ”

Additional increases in the discharge rate may be necessary if the lake continues to rise.  The Corps will continue to monitor and make adjustments as necessary.

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