Southwest Florida water flows and the coral reefs

Cathy Corbett ccorbett at
Fri Apr 28 13:00:26 EDT 2000

For those of you interested in the effects that Southwest Florida water
currents have on the coral reefs in Florida, South Florida Water Management
District has started releasing 3172 cfs of water from Lake Okeechobee into
the Caloosahatchee river.  This level of flow was commenced Tuesday (April
25), I believe, after the governing board meeting and will continue for 92
days and is meant to spare the levee in the lake.  Documented actual flow
measurements have been higher --as discharge from Moore Haven was 4492 cfs
and Franklin Locks was 4529 cfs on 4/27/00.  It is believed that the flows
from the river (an impaired water body with relatively high phosphorous
loadings) could then affect the coral reefs, especially at such large
levels. (Incidentally, the outflows to the St. Lucie are 1963 cfs and to
WCAs are 1375 cfs).

Many people in Southwest Florida are concerned because there had been no
releases from the lake since January, and many of the seagrass beds in the
Caloosahatchee estuary have died back.  They just started releasing some
water several weeks ago, and now they are releasing entirely too much.
Their experts claim it will take the seagrass beds two years to recover from
this disaster.  Many groups are striving to document the results of these
releases so that such large releases will not occur again in the future.
Perhaps you know of a few people who would like to document the effects of
this release on coral reefs. If so, please inform those that you think would
be interested in this matter.

Catherine Corbett
Environmental Projects Manager
4980 Bayline Drive, 4th Floor
N. Fort Myers, Florida 33917
Phone:  941-995-1777
Fax:  941-656-7724
Email:  ccorbett at

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