Major Water Quality Update

On November 16th, the Army Corps released its selected operation plan for the Lake Okeechobee System Operations Manual (LOSOM). In the plan, the Caloosahatchee achieves a 27% decrease in the number of days where we will be burdened with harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges. We also see a 12% improvement in the number of days where we meet the minimum flows needed to maintain a healthy estuary. This 12% improvement is on top of the 82% improvement that we will achieve upon completion of the C-43 Reservoir. This will be an extremely significant benefit to the health of the Caloosahatchee and our estuary.

The model chosen is expected to:

  • Eliminate lake releases to the St. Lucie under normal conditions, sending zero lake water to the East 95% of the time. Under 2008 LORS, releases east were at zero only 37% of the time and the flows could reach 1,800 cubic feet per second even in the low sub band.
  • Eliminate stressful releases to the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee under normal conditions and provide lake flows that are compatible with estuarine ecology as recommended by RECOVER.
  • Increase flows south to the Central Everglades to an average annual of 200,000 acre-feet per year and preserve the opportunity to release water all the way to the water shortage management line in coordination with the SFWMD.
  • Provide better water supply for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Lake Okeechobee Service Area, and the Lower East Coast Service Areas than LORS 2008 currently provides.
  • Ensure the safety of the 9.3 million people of South Florida who rely on the Herbert Hoover Dike for flood protection.
  • Provide compatible lake operations as the C-44 and C-43 reservoirs come online.
  • Reduce damaging dry downs on Lake Okeechobee.

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