The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District said it will slightly reduce target flows from Lake Okeechobee to Caloosahatchee beginning Aug. 13, as lake levels will remain stable through the wet season.
Releases to the Caloosahatchee Estuary will target a pulse release at a seven-day average of 457 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the WP Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). This is a reduction from the targeted pulse release of 650 cfs that has been in effect since July 30.
Since the target is measured at the WP Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79), it includes runoff from the local basin. Runoff from the local basin provided most of the target flows, so only a small amount of water left the lake from the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam (S-77), with a recent average of 140 cfs per week.
“Based on the information we currently have, we believe that reducing lake outflows provides the best balance between the goals of our congressionally authorized project. We will continue to assess conditions in real time and make adjustments to the exit plan if necessary”, said Jacksonville District Commander Col. James Booth. “Our partners at the South Florida Water Management District predict that local basin rainfall in the Caloosahatchee watershed may be able to sustain appropriate salinity conditions in the estuary over the next two weeks. . They recommended that we maintain the Caloosahatchee River (MFL) minimum flow and level of 457 cfs at Structure S-79, and we agree with their recommendation.
“We are making no changes to eastern operations and continue to target no lake discharges in the St. Lucia Estuary, although on Tuesday August 16, equipment upgrades at S-80 may require operational tests of the spillway gates. for short periods, he added.
As of August 12, the lake level was 12.80 feet. The lake level was about the same as it had been since mid-June, and about 14.5 inches lower than a year ago.
For more information, visit www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/WaterManagement.aspx.