USACE to maintain current flows from Lake Okeechobee
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District will continue the current scheduled releases of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary, officials reported on Feb. 21.
The Corps will continue to release water from the lake to the Caloosahatchee in a pulse 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 are planned through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80).
Flows at the W.P. 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).
As of Feb. 21, the stage at Lake Okeechobee was 12.89 feet, down .04 feet in the prior week and up .04 feet during the past 30 days. The Corps also will continue to release water when necessary to maintain navigation levels in the Caloosahatchee C-43 and St. Lucie C-44 canals and to provide water supply.
“We’ve had a fairly wet February with 111 percent of normal rainfall so far, and the lake has been fairly stable for the last month,” Jacksonville District Commander Col. Andrew Kelly said. “Given the current conditions on the lake and weather forecasts, maintaining the current releases to the Caloosahatchee to help mitigate salinity rise during the dry season can be accomplished without impacting lake levels, which we expect to be around 12 feet when the rainy season begins.”
Partners at the Department of Environmental Protection report that according to the most recent viable satellite imagery, harmful algal bloom potential is low to moderate on Lake Okeechobee.