The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday said it will not change the amount of water that it is releasing from Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie Estuary and Caloosahatchee River on Florida’s west coast.
The Corps typically announces on Thursdays whether it plans to reduce, increase or keep the lake discharges at the same level for the following week.
The Corps is currently releasing 756 million gallons per day into the St. Lucie Estuary — a 35 percent drop from last week’s level, when the discharges totaled roughly 1.1 billion gallons.
“The lake remains high for this time of year,” said Jim Jeffords, Jacksonville District Operations Division Chief. “Wet conditions during our normal dry season tested the water management system in south Florida. Working with our state and federal partners, we’ve used any flexibility we could find in the system, but the lake level on July 1st was the highest for that date over the past 10 years.”
On Thursday, the lake stood at 14.93 feet, up more than a foot since the lake hit its low for 2016 of 13.64 on May 17.
“Conditions in both estuaries have shown some slight improvement,” Jeffords said. “This is primarily the result of drier weather in the area and the reduction in flows that we implemented last week.”