Lake Okeechobee Water Level History And Projected Stages, 3-22-16. Source: South Florida Water Management District.
Lake Okeechobee Water Level History And Projected Stages, 3-22-16. Source: South Florida Water Management District.

DEP’S Daily Lake Okeechobee Water Release Update, 3-25-16

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DEP Daily Lake Okeechobee Water Release Update, Lake Level, Lake Inflow, Lake Outflow, 3-25-16.

DEP’S Daily Lake Okeechobee Water Release Update, Friday, March 25.

Scattered heavy showers and slow-moving, strong storms focused around the lake before shifting northeastward during the evening with local 4 inches of rain possible.

The Department of Environmental Protection issued the Daily Lake Okeechobee Water Release update.

For Immediate Release: March 25, 2016, 2:05 PM/E

Caloosahatchee Salinity Conditions: Salinity (based on optimal conditions for adult oysters) is in the good range at Shell Point and Sanibel, and in the poor range at Cape Coral.

St. Lucie Salinity Conditions: Salinity at the U.S. 1 bridge is within the fair range. The salinity at A1A is in good condition.

Rainfall Forecast:  “Rainfall for the current week is forecast to be above average. Scattered heavy showers and slow-moving, strong storms focused around the lake before shifting northeastward during the evening with local 4 inches of rain possible. A similar pattern exists tomorrow, but steering winds will be dominantly from the southwest; therefore, heavier showers and strong storms should be limited to the Upper Kissimmee and East Coast.”

As of March 24, 2016, water levels within the three WMAs previously listed are approaching criteria for rescinding the special regulations that limit public access. Criteria for rescinding the special regulations is a combination of water level and wildlife observed on surrounding levees. Water levels in all three WMAs have continued to recede during the past week. If the recession trends continue, conditions should improve prior to the onset of the wet season.

Everglades WMA:

  • Water level (average of 62/63 gauges) as of March 24 = 11.30 feet
  • High water closure criteria = 11.60 feet
  • Regulation schedule = 9.95 feet
  • Average for this time of year = 9.99 feet
  • Recession rate for the last week = (0.26) feet
  • Water level trend over the past 3 weeks = dropping

Rotenberger WMA:

  • Water level as of March 24 = 12.85 feet
  • High water closure criteria = 13.50 feet
  • Regulation schedule = 12.62 feet
  • Average for this time of year = 12.25 feet
  • Recession rate for the last week = (0.06) feet
  • Water level trend over the past 3 weeks = dropping

Holey Land WMA:

  • Water level as of March 24 = 12.00 feet
  • High water closure criteria = 12.50 feet
  • Regulation schedule = 11.31 feet
  • Average for this time of year = 10.81 feet
  • Recession rate for the last week = (0.05) feet
  • Water level trend over the past 3 weeks = dropping

Wildlife surveys conducted on WMA levees and tree islands during the past week suggest use by wildlife has begun to decrease as a result of receding water levels in all of the WMAs. Typically this time of year (three months into the seven-month nesting season), we observe increased wading bird nesting, but so far, none has been observed. As of March 24, 2016, this high water event has lasted 54 days.

As a result of FWC’s continued observations, the special regulations that limit public access for the three WMAs will continue. As water levels drop significantly below the established criteria, wildlife will have delayed reactions and conditions typically do not improve for at least a week or more. Once conditions improve for wildlife, FWC will recommend an order to rescind the current special regulations.

For more information and the complete data, please see DEP.


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