CLEWISTON, Fla. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is reducing the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee for the first time since releases were initiated following Hurricane Irma. They plan to continue releasing water at this new level until December 1st which marks the end of hurricane season.
Starting November 17, the target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be set to 6,500 cubic feet per second as measured at Moore Haven Lock & Dam. The target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will be reduced to 2,800 cubic feet per second as measured at St. Lucie Lock & Dam near Stuart.
“The lake is starting to slowly recede after hitting a peak of 17.2 feet last month,” says Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, Jacksonville District Deputy Commander for South Florida.
The Army Corps of Engineers says the lake is still at its highest levels in over a decade, and massive rainfall this year means the Corps cannot send any water south.
The Corps will continue to inspect the Herbert Hoover Dike. At current lake levels, the southern half of the dike is inspected twice a week, while the northern half of the dike is inspected every once a week.
Inspectors have found a decrease in seepage around the dike as the water level has dropped. No structural issues with the dike have been found.