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Lake Okeechobee flows adjusted to support sediment study

By USACE - | Feb 26, 2021

On Feb. 22, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District reported that it would make a temporary deviation to the Lake Okeechobee release schedule to facilitate a study by the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Geological Survey to develop methods to indirectly measure sediment transported from the lake to the estuaries.

The deviation would allow 1,000-4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) flow from structures for short periods of time during the day on Feb. 23 at the Moore Haven Lock and Dam (S-77) and on Feb. 24 at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam (S-308).

Prior to the tests, the USACE was going to draw down the St. Lucie Canal (C-44) to minimize the potential for opening the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) during the test; however, there was still a possibility that the S-80 may be opened for a short period of time to accommodate the increased water resulting from the testing. The SFWMD was also going to evaluate conditions during testing to consider whether it is possible to use Dispersed Water Management projects, such as the Caulkins Water Farm, to further reduce the potential for opening S-80.

“We are happy to assist the USGS and SFWMD in their effort to find ways to better understand the flow of sediment through the lake and into the estuaries,” Jacksonville District Commander Col. Andrew Kelly said. “It’s important to better understand the science about sediment transported from the lake to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers.”

For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management at www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.