Water-Related News

Corps considers raising Lake O levels, sending water south, east to protect Caloosahatchee

Modelers working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are tying to find ways to reduce harmful discharges to the Caloosahatchee River when new Lake Okeechobee management regulations are finalized later this year.

"For Southwest Florida, one of the main drivers of our optimizations is to reduce the stressful releases to the Caloosahatchee and we’re going to do that in a couple of ways," said Army Corps Col. Andrew Kelly during a press conference Friday. "One way is to get additional water flow south that could potentially reduce stress to the Caloosahatchee. And we’re looking at raising the top line in the lake levels, so that could reduce releases. We're also looking at additional releases to the St. Lucie to reduce stresses as well."

The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers were connected to the lake long ago to help drain the lake.

The lake operations Kelly referred to will be part of what's called the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual, or LOSOM, a 10-year guide that will dictate lake levels.

Kelly took a public flogging in Fort Myers earlier this month when he announced the preliminary choice of alternatives.