The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will further reduce releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee tomorrow. The Corps says its a gradual step-down to help moderate the high recession rate on Lake Okeechobee while sustaining beneficial conditions for the lake and estuaries through the remainder of the dry season.
The releases to the Caloosahatchee Estuary will target a pulse release at a 7-day average of 1,000 cubic feet per second from the Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). This represents a further gradual reduction from the level of 2,000 cfs that had been in place since November of 2021, the 1,800 targeted pulse release that was initiated on April 2, and the 1,500 cfs targeted pulse release that began on April 16.
“Evapotranspiration rates have continued to increase. Nearly a tenth of a foot came off the lake from evapotranspiration alone this week, but overall, we’re in a good spot,” said Lt. Col. Todd Polk, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida. “We heard from the scientists and stakeholders on Tuesday, and they have been supportive of our plan to step-down flows to try to moderate that recession rate. This week, our partners at the South Florida Water Management District recommended a 1,000 cfs flow rate to the Caloosahatchee, and we are in agreement with their recommendation. This flow rate provides beneficial flows to the Caloosahatchee and should also maintain good conditions for fish and oyster spawning in the estuary.”
On Thursday the lake stage was at 13.04 feet. The lake has receded 0.84 feet in the past 30 days, is 1.03 feet lower than it was last year and 1.58 feet higher than two years ago.