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USACE: Releases from Lake Okeechobee Resume on Saturday > West Down the Caloosahatchee, But Not East Down the St. Lucie

Cyanobacteria Algal on Lake Okeechobee as of Thursday April 11
Cyanobacteria Algal on Lake Okeechobee as of Thursday April 11

South Florida - Friday April 12, 2024: On Saturday, April 13, the USACE Jacksonville District (SAJ) will begin to target a 7-day average pulse release from Lake Okeechobee at 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) west out of the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam (S79).

The purpose is to continue reducing lake levels in a beneficial way to prepare for the wet and hurricane seasons.

Unless conditions change, there wil continue to be no release east down the St. Lucie Estuary. The Corps says they will maintain ZERO-cfs releases to continue to allow salinity in the St. Lucie Estuary to recover.

USACE is resuming their dry season strategy to get water off the lake before what is forecasted to be a record-setting year of named storms. Lower lake levels provide flood risk management, improve lake ecology, and decrease the probability of large releases during the summer when large algal blooms generally occur with greater frequency.

In February, USACE began making larger releases from Lake Okeechobee in response to El Niño rainfall and rising water levels. February is typically drier and when water levels throughout the Everglades recede; this year was not typical. These larger releases helped the lake start its recession by bringing the water level down about a foot between mid-February and late March.