ARMY CORPS ANNOUNCES LAKE O RELEASES TO BE REDUCED TO ZERO
As of Saturday, April 15, 2023, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District has reduced releases from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee River Estuaries.
“With help from mother nature, we have been able to bring the lake down almost a foot in the past 30 days,” said Col. James Booth, Jacksonville District Commander. “Our partners at the South Florida Water Management District have recommended an 1,800 cfs flow rate to the Caloosahatchee and zero releases to the St. Lucie, and we are in agreement with their recommendation..."
We believe the Army Corps made the right decision in ending the discharges to the St. Lucie Estuary. As we have said since releases began in January, there is no such thing as non-harmful discharges to our waterways. These releases could have been avoided entirely if there was adequate capacity in the Stormwater Treatment Areas for Lake Okeechobee water instead of Basin Runoff from agricultural lands. We encourage the Army Corp of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District to work together to implement solutions and exercise flexibility so that more water can be sent south to the Everglades where it is needed. The recent announcement that LOSOM will be delayed until late 2023 makes immediate solutions even more critical to the health of our estuary.