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Corps to continue current releases from Lake Okeechobee

By Staff | Nov 13, 2019

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District will maintain the flow of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary at current rates, officials reported on Nov. 8.

The Corps planned to release water from the lake to the Caloosahatchee in a pulsing pattern that averages 650 cubic feet per second (cfs) over a seven-day period measured at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). No releases were planned through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80). Flows at the Franklin or St. Lucie structures could occasionally be exceeded by runoff from rain that accumulates in the Caloosahatchee or St. Lucie basins, and those flows will be allowed to pass through the spillways as necessary. If local basin runoff meets or exceeds the 650 cfs targeted release at W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam, no water will be released from Lake Okeechobee at Moore Haven Lock and Dam (S-77).

“We continue to release water for environmental enhancement of plant and aquatic life in the estuary,” Jacksonville District Commander Col. Andrew Kelly said. “October rainfall has resulted in the lake holding steady at about the same stage as it was near the end of September. This is helpful because the lake typically recedes a half-foot monthly during dry season. The steady lake levels put us in a better position moving forward.”

As of Nov. 8, the stage at Lake Okeechobee was 13.35 feet, down 0.10 feet from the week before and 0.08 feet during the past 30 days. The Corps also will continue to release water when necessary to maintain navigation levels in the C-43 and C-44 canals and to provide water supply.

Partners at the Department of Environmental Protection reported that according to the most recent viable satellite imagery, harmful algal bloom potential was low on Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries remained free of blooms.