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FL - Army Corps working toward new release schedule for Lake Okeechobee

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is holding a technical meeting Monday to talk about Lake Okeechobee releases and changes to release protocols that are expected to be in place by the end of 2022.

Lake Okeechobee is at the center of the historic Everglades, and releases are conducted to the Caloosahatchee River regularly to help lower lake levels.

Historically, the Caloosahatchee River was likely natural connected to Lake Okeechobee during heavy rain years, but developers turned the waterfalls and springs at the headwaters of the river in to a long, straight, deep canal that’s capable of taking billions of gallons of water.  

The Army Corps conducts and regulates releases, and the agency has tried to keep the level of the lake between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet above sea level to provide flood control, water supply to farms and urbanized areas, and to provide healthy flows to systems like the Caloosahatchee.

Those targets were established in what’s called the Lake Okeechobee Operations Regulation Schedule, or LORS, which was implemented in 2008.

A new set of regulations, called the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual, or LOSOM, will be the topic of Monday’s meeting.

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