Corps lowers Lake O releases to Caloosahatchee to 1,500

Posted 5/15/21

OKEECHOBEE- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced that starting on May 15 releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River will be reduced from 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) …

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Corps lowers Lake O releases to Caloosahatchee to 1,500

Posted

OKEECHOBEE- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced that starting on May 15 releases from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River will be reduced from 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1,500 cfs.

That decrease in volume will also come with a change in how water is released from the Franklin Lock to the Caloosahatchee, with the corps switching to a pulse release as opposed to a steady flow.

USACE says the pulse releases will help flush the lower end of the system, raise salinities, and help combat the formation of algae.

“We believe this change to lower-level pulse releases has a good chance of helping combat algae formations in the upper estuary,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, Jacksonville District Commander. “We are certainly still concerned about the lake being high for this year, but we think the potential benefits of attempting to reduce algae right now outweighs the benefits of getting more water off the lake at this point.”

Releases to the St. Lucie River will remain at zero for the upcoming week.

Lake Okeechobee’s water level was at 13.61 feet on May 14,  0.26 feet lower than the same time last week. USACE is currently projecting that it will be possible for the lake to be between 13-13.5 feet on June 1,  much lower than the projections at the beginning of the year of a 14.5 feet water level or higher at the start of rainy season.

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