The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will reduce target flows from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee beginning Saturday, July 30, as lake levels remain steady due to drier conditions and local basin runoff has been adequate to maintain salinity levels in the estuary.
The releases to the Caloosahatchee Estuary will target a pulse release at a 7-day average of 650 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). This is a reduction from the 750 cfs targeted pulse release that has been in effect since July 9.
Since this target is measured at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79), it includes local basin runoff. Local basin runoff has been exceeding the targets we’ve set for the past several months, so very little water has left the lake from the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam (S-77).
“Lake levels continue to remain fairly steady, when they are typically rising at this time of year,” said Lt. Col. Todd Polk, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “We’ve had drier conditions and very little tropical activity recently. In addition, there has not been much flow into the lake from the Kissimmee Basin to the north for several months, and the chain of lakes, though slowly coming up, are still fairly low. Our partners at the South Florida Water Management District recommended a 650 cfs flow rate to the Caloosahatchee, and we are in agreement with their recommendation. This slightly reduced flow target will continue to provide beneficial flows to the Caloosahatchee estuary.”
Today, the lake stage is 13.02 feet. The lake is approximately the same level as it has been since mid-June, and seven inches lower than it was one year ago.
For more information on water level and flows data for Lake Okeechobee, visit the Corps’ water management website at www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.