Army Corps to reduce water releases from Lake O starting Friday

Published: Updated:

The Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will be reducing water releases from Lake Okeechobee starting Friday.

This announcement comes after Governor Rick Scott issued an emergency order to the Army Corps and South Florida Water Management District Wednesday.

The order requested the two groups “take emergency actions to help redirect the flow of water out of Lake Okeechobee to the south,” according to a press release.

MORE: Local mayors, leaders rallying to send Lake O releases elsewhere

The Army Corps says new targets are 3,000 cfs west or 1.9 billion gallons per day and 1,170 cfs east at 756 million gallons per day.

“The discharges over the past three weeks have stopped the rise in the lake,” said Col. Jason Kirk, Jacksonville District Commander. “Inflows have also slowed since late May.  Based on current conditions, the guidance under the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule calls for reduced flows.”

The Army Corps says they will release water to the St. Lucie Estuary from the lake in a “pulse” fashion, which means flows will vary during the seven-day release period.

“The pulse releases will be set up to include two consecutive days of no flow for the St. Lucie Estuary,” said Kirk.  “This should allow some tidal flushing which will help aquatic life in the estuary.”

WINK News reporter Nicole Lauren was live on Fort Myers Beach after the announcement to talk to locals about the decision. Watch the segment below.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.