WEST PALM BEACH -- Work on the Lake Okeechobee System Operation Manual (LOSOM) continues. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use LOSOM to manage water levels in Lake Okeechobee, starting in late 2022 or early 2023 when the rehabilitation work on the Herbert Hoover Dike is complete.
“For about the next month, we’re going to go through the goals I set for my team, to do the modeling and get the performance right,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, commander of the USACE Jacksonville District at the Aug. 12 meeting of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). “We will re-engage with the existing PDT (project delivery team) structure that we have to deliver that information, to receive feedback.”
He said at the same time the crops will also ask the LOSOM Project Delivery Team (PDT) members to form a smaller operational guidance group. “That group is going to help us put the words on the paper.
“We’re going to address algae in operational guidance – the when, where and how we should consider algae when we make day-to-day release decisions,” he explained. There will also be a lake recovery plan in the guidance, to help the lake recover from periods of high water.
He said by mid-September the corps will come back to the PDT with enough information based on what the data shows. It won’t be the final plan, he added.
At the Aug. 12 meeting, Kelly thanked SFWMD for their partnership, and introduced his successor Col. James Booth. Booth will take over Sept. 9.
“The Jacksonville team is solid. My team is phenomenal, and they are continuously carrying the ball,” he said.
Booth has been out in the community, meeting the stakeholders in South Florida. “He brings a wealth of experience,” said Kelly. “He is well versed. He has previous command in the Corps of Engineers.
“He has seen it at the national, at the regional and the local level,” said Kelly.
Booth introduced himself as a “Florida boy, born and raised in Keystone Heights, FL.” His last assignment was in Afghanistan.
The SFWMD decided to change their September meeting to a different day so that it won’t conflict with the Sept. 9 USACE ceremony.