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Lake Okeechobee Discharges Announced

The harmful releases into St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries and Lake Worth Lagoon can impact wildlife, the environment, and industries that rely on clean water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that high-volume water releases from Lake Okeechobee will begin this Saturday, February 17.

The water discharges, according to the Corps press release, will occur as follows:

“USACE water managers are targeting the maximum allowable flows under the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule 2008 (LORS08), at an average of 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Julian Keen Jr. Lock and Dam (S-77), 1,800 cfs at St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) and up to 500 cfs to the Lake Worth Lagoon through the C-51 canal.  If we continue to receive additional rainfall, flow rates could increase higher if LORS08 recommends a higher maximum allowable flow based on conditions. LORS08 is equivalent to a vehicle operation manual for operating Lake Okeechobee water release structures.” 

The releases are occurring after abnormally high levels of rainfall due to El Niño.

Storage and treatment south of Lake Okeechobee, as provided by the EAA Reservoir and its stormwater treatment area, are desperately needed and, once complete, will provide a much-needed outlet for southerly flow.

Situations like this illustrate why we are restoring the Everglades and proceeding with plans to construct and operate storage reservoirs around the lake, including the EAA Reservoir, C-43 Reservoir, Lake Okeechobee Component A Reservoir, and C-44 Reservoir.

We have made great progress in opening the southern end of the system with construction of 3.3 miles of bridges on Tamiami Trail and seepage barriers along the northeastern boundary of Everglades National Park.

The final constraint to flow at the southern end of the peninsula will be solved in two years with the final removal of the Tamiami Trail roadbed, which will provide much-needed relief from high water conditions in the central Everglades and allow for new flow provided by the EAA Reservoir.


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