Posted on April 18, 2022
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will reduce releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee beginning Saturday, April 16 in an effort to support the ecology of the estuary and Lake Okeechobee, slightly slow the recession of the lake, and sustain beneficial conditions through the remainder of the dry season.
The releases to the Caloosahatchee Estuary will target a pulse release at a 7-day average of 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) from the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S-79). This represents a gradual reduction from the level of 2,000 cfs that had been in place since November of 2021, and the 1,800 targeted pulse release that was initiated on April 2.
“Evapotranspiration rates are increasing, and we’ve seen a steady recession on the lake for the last several months, which is pretty typical for this time of year,” said Colonel James Booth, Jacksonville District Commander. “We may continue to gradually reduce flows over the next few weeks, to try to bring down that recession rate at little bit. We coordinate closely with our partners at the South Florida Water Management District, and their recommendation is for 1,500 flows to the Caloosahatchee this week. Their operational position informs our decision and together, we are working to balance the ecology of Lake Okeechobee and the estuaries this dry season.”
Today, the lake stage is at 13.42 feet. The lake has receded 0.72 feet in the past 30 days, is 0.8 feet lower than it was last year and 2 feet higher than two years 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.