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USACE Preferred Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule Explained

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the preferred alternative for how Lake Okeechobee water releases will be managed in the future under what’s called the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual, or LOSOM. As currently designed the so-called “CC alternative” will reduce the amount that is discharged to the east down the St. Lucie River, and increase the amount of water that is sent to the west down the Caloosahatchee River. Flows south toward the Everglades would be increased.

Currently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts and regulates the releases using what’s called the Lake Okeechobee Operations Regulation Schedule, or LORS, which was put into place in 2008.

It appears likely that the CC alternative will be the final choice for lake regulation over the next decade or so, but it has not been finalized and will be tweaked in the coming months during what the Corps is describing as an optimization process. A final decision is expected by November of next year.

We go over the proposed release schedule, and what will happen next as the optimization process gets underway, with Tim Gysan, he is the LOSOM Project Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

You can hear our conversation about the CC alternative from June 20 with with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani, and James Evans, Environmental Policy Director at the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation HERE.

You can provide feedback about the LOSOM process by emailing LakeOComments@usace.army.mil.