Corps continues flows from Lake Okeechobee
On April 24, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District reported that it will continue flows from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79) to the Caloosahatchee estuary at a seven-day average rate of 457 cubic feet per second (cfs). Flows to the St. Lucie estuary remain at zero cfs as measured at the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80).
Releases are made in a pulse pattern, which began on April 25.
In addition, partners at the South Florida Water Management District have coordinated with the Corps as they mobilize pumps and modify water management operations to help control a wildfire in Everglades National Park.
“We’ve been releasing 457cfs to the Caloosahatchee Estuary since the beginning of April, and will continue to do that as long as we can,” Jacksonville District Commander Col. Andrew Kelly said. “We’re also working with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District and doing whatever we can to raise groundwater levels to keep the marsh and peat soils wet, in an effort to help control a fire that’s been burning in Everglades National Park.”
As of April 24, the lake stage was 11.36 feet NGVD. During the prior week, lake levels decreased 0.02 feet, with an overall 0.76 foot decrease in the past 30 days. The Corps will continue to monitor conditions closely and adjust flows as necessary. Changes in flows to the estuaries will be announced.
The schedule will remain in effect until further notice.
Additional runoff from rain in the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie basins could occasionally result in flows that exceed one or both targets. The Corps will continue to closely monitor conditions and coordinate with its partners at the SFWMD to reevaluate releases weekly.
NOAA and NASA satellite imagery from April 21 indicated an increase in algal bloom potential on the northern sector of Lake Okeechobee.