Water-Related News

New lake schedule delayed due to red tide concerns

The new plan for releasing water from Lake Okeechobee will be delayed until the end of the year according to information shared March 15 at the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual (LOSOM) Project Delivery Team (PDT) meeting.

Col. James Booth, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District (USACE), said the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was initially scheduled for March but has been pushed back due to concerns by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Booth said they expect to have a decision on LOSOM by December 2023. The additional time will be used for more study and additional engagement by state and federal agencies.

Until then, USACE will continue to manage Lake Okeechobee under the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS-08), which was implemented in 2008.

Under LORS-08, water managers try to keep Lake O within the environmental envelope of 12.5 feet at the start of the wet season to 15.5 feet at the start of the dry season. LOSOM allows both higher and lower water levels than LORS-08.