Moore Haven Lock closed; Lake Okeechobee Waterway blocked by floating islands of vegetation


LAKE OKEECHOBEE – Due to the extensive formation of tussocks (floating islands of vegetation) and high winds, portions of the Okeechobee Waterway have become impassable for marine vessel traffic.

The Moore Haven Lock and Dam is currently closed to all vessels.

Other restricted areas include large areas of Route #2 from Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp to Structure S-282 (Culvert C-5A at the north entrance to the Rim Canal). There are buoy lines at the entrance of the rim canal to restrict access to the affected areas. No vessels are allowed in these restricted areas. Maintenance crews and the corps’ floating crane plant have been working on this issue, but there is currently no estimated time for completion due to the large expanse of tussock coverage.

The South Florida Operations Office advises against through vessel traffic for the safety of all boaters.

In addition, congestion of affected areas by vessels creates safety and work hazards for corps operations crews working to restore navigation.

It may be days or even weeks before the corps is able to eliminate these blockages.

Boaters may travel locally on the Okeechobee Waterway, for example, Stuart to Indiantown, or Fort Myers to Ortona, and local fishing will be available on Lake Okeechobee, but boaters can only access the lake through Port Mayaca and the State of Florida-owned locks located around Lake Okeechobee. The Moore Haven Lock and Dam, as well as the canals to the north and south, will be closed until further notice.