Corps Reducing Lake O Releases


On Saturday, July 9th, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started reducing flows from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee, as lake levels remain steady 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 750 cubic feet per second from the Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). This is a reduction from the 1,000 cfs targeted pulse release that has been in effect since April 30.

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 the Corps set for most of the past month, so very little water has left the lake from the Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam (S-77).

“Lake levels have been fairly steady, when they are typically rising at this time of year,” said Col. James Booth, Jacksonville District Commander. “Right now, we’re in a good spot. Our partners at the South Florida Water Management District recommended a 750 cfs flow rate to the Caloosahatchee, and we are in agreement with their recommendation. This reduced flow target will continue to provide beneficial flows to the Caloosahatchee and maintain good conditions for fish and oyster spawning in the estuary.”

As of Friday, the lake stage was 12.87 feet. The lake is approximately one inch higher than it was 30 days ago, and three inches lower than it was one year ago.