Army Corps further reduces Lake O flows into Caloosahatchee

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A trend of decreasing flows from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River continues.

The amount of water going from lake to river is being reduced for the fourth time this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. The new target flow starting Friday will be 2,800 cubic feet per second, down slightly from 3,000 cubic feet per second. The measurement point will be the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam in east Lee County, the Corps said.

Flows were near peak levels earlier this month during the passage of Hurricane Matthew, but the Corps has gradually brought them down since. Corps officials are considering additional reductions as dry season begins.

“The lake continues to recede,” said Candida Bronson, acting operations division chief for the Jacksonville district of the Corps.  “With wet season winding down, we intend to start transitioning toward dry-season flows, which will be much lower.  We want this transition to be done in a manner that doesn’t cause a shock to the environment by reducing flows too quickly.”

Flows go up and down based on the amount of water in Lake Okeechobee as the Corps manages the aging Hoover Dike that surrounds the lake. Water from the lake is often cited for environmental issues downstream and around the mouth of the Caloosahatchee in Lee County.

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