Water-Related News

Lower Lake Okeechobee discharges could be bad for Caloosahatchee if rains don't arrive soon

The Caloosahatchee River estuary may soon suffer harm if daily rains don't come soon.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managers cut flows from Lake Okeechobee last week to 450 cubic feet per second as measured at the W.P. Franklin Lock, the water control structure that separates the freshwater portion of the river from the estuary.

That's just above the harm threshold of 400 cubic feet per second.

"We probably need more freshwater flow due to the lack of rainfall here in early June," said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. "What the research has shown is we need about 800 cubic feet per second to maintain that salinity envelope at 10 or below in the upper estuary."

Cassani and others have long pushed for higher flow rates for the river in order to better balance salinity levels.

The Army Corps is in charge of Lake Okeechobee levels, which in recent years has been kept between 12.5 and 15.5 feet above sea level.