Water-Related News

All that released Lake Okeechobee water takes toll

After three months of freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River is running dark, fast and fresh.

But the river’s color, speed and low salinity are not entirely caused by lake releases.

To protect the aging Herbert Hoover Dike, which surrounds Lake Okeechobee, water managers like to keep lake levels between 12.5 and 15.5 feet; when levels approach the upper limit, the Army Corps of Engineers releases water down the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers.

Since May 8, the Corps has released 448,000 acre feet (145.9 billion gallons) of water down the Caloosahatchee.

During the same time, 560,000 acre feet (182.4 billion gallons) of freshwater runoff entered the river between the lake and the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam.