Dear Members and Friends,
The Army Corps of Engineers has been working on a new regulation schedule for Lake Okeechobee known as the Lake Okeechobee Systems Operation Manual (LOSOM). These regulations include how the water in the lake will be managed as well as the volume and duration of flows sent to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, and south to the Everglades. It is anticipated to guide the lakes operations for the next decade until the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is completed.

Your voice is urgently needed to let the Corps know that we do not accept CC in its current form!
As they move into the next phase of the LOSOM process, the Army Corps selected its preferred plan, known as Alternative CC. According to a release from the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation:

Alternative CC as it exists today would be harmful to the Caloosahatchee for the following reasons:
  • It relies on the Caloosahatchee as the primary outlet for Lake Okeechobee, resulting in significant improvements to some stakeholders at the expense of the Caloosahatchee and west coast communities.
  • It increases the total volume of nutrient-laden water that is delivered to the Caloosahatchee and coastal waters that would be available to harmful algal blooms like blue-green algae and red tide.
  • It increases the number of days and duration of stressful and harmful flow events (flows greater than 2,100 cubic feet per second) to the Caloosahatchee, impacting salinity and the ecological health of our estuary.

They are currently evaluating options to optimize performance of alternative CC to better balance the various project purposes, needs of the natural systems, and stakeholders.

Between August 6 and 10, the Corps will announce what components of alternative CC they will optimize in the next modeling phase. Your voice is urgently needed to let the Corps know that we do not accept CC in its current form.  

We are asking the Corps to incorporate the following changes into alternative CC to ensure it is balanced for all stakeholders:
  • Measure all discharges to the Caloosahatchee Estuary at the Franklin Lock (S-79).
  • Cap regulatory discharges made in Zone D, the primary operational zone, to a maximum of 2,100 cfs at S-79— consistent with the ecological performance targets for the Caloosahatchee estuary.
  • Equitably distribute flows across all outlets —south, east, and west—when conditions are wet.
  • Allow for beneficial dry season releases to the Caloosahatchee and the Everglades in all zones.
  • Minimize or eliminate back flowing of nutrient-rich water from the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) and C-44 basins into the lake.
  • Evaluate and improve upon modeling completed by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) in sensitivity run 3.5 (SR3.5), which reduced the harmful high-volume discharges to the Caloosahatchee.

We are asking our members to reach out to Colonel Andrew Kelly, and Eva B. Velez-Torres, from the US Army Corps of Engineers by clicking the link below. Your voice is urgently needed to let the Corps know that we do not accept CC in its current form!