The following update Comparison of Lake O Releases was shared by Dr Gary Goforth on 7-14-16. Thank you Dr Goforth. The more informed and studied we are about where the water is going, the better chance we have to change this situation.
A few observations:
1. Lake Okeechobee has received more than twice the watershed inflows since January compared to last year at this time.
2. Discharges from the Lake have increased 25% compared to last year this time, however the distribution of inflows has dramatically changed compared to last year (as you so clearly know):
3. Since January 1,
a. approx. 525 billion gallons of Lake water have been sent to the estuaries (including Lake Worth Lagoon)
b. Lake flows are averaging about 1 billion gallons per day to the St. Lucie River/Estuary and about 2.1 billion gallons per day, and about 0.1 billion gallons /day to Lake Worth Lagoon, for a total of about 3.2 billion gallons per day
c. Twenty-five (25) times more Lake water has been discharged to the estuaries than to the Everglades
d Ag runoff has contributed significant nutrient loads to the St. Lucie River/Estuary:
i. Nitrogen loads: 36% from ag and 54% from Lake
[Dear Gov. Scott and SFWMD Board members: Martin County septic tanks contributed about 2% of the nitrogen load]
ii. Phosphorus loads: 53% from ag and 30% from Lake
e. 93% of the sediment load to the St. Lucie River/Estuary this year has come from the Lake discharges (37 million pounds)
4. Only 32 billion gallons of Lake water have been sent to the STAs this year – less than 1/3 of the amount sent last year at this time.