Corps of Engineers increasing Lake Okeechobee discharges

Posted at 12:39 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 08:45:08-04

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday plans to increase the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee over the next week.

The lake level is currently at 15.39 feet, up a quater foot over the past week.

RELATED: More Toxic Algae coverage

The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will increase to 1,170 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is measured at the St. Lucie Lock & Dam.

"We have averaged 8,000 cfs of flow into the lake and only 650 cfs of outflow over the past week," said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for the Jacksonville District.  "Rainfall over the estuaries, particularly to the west, has limited the amount of water we could get off the lake."

The Corps said they will continue releasing water from the lake in a "pulse" fashion, meaning flows will vary during the seven-day release period.  

"We expect the lake to be in the 15.5 foot range by this time next week," said Bronson.  "At that level, we increase inspections of the dike to ensure continued safe operation. We still have seven weeks remaining in the wet season. Even without a significant weather event, we expect that the lake will be above 16 feet by the end of November."