September levels arrive, just in time for September
SFL Weekly Watersheds Summary: Sep 4 – 10

LAKE O. Close to 10,000 cfs of structural flows discharged into the Lake last week: +3,000 flowing in from the Kissimmee, ~2,000 cfs from Fisheating Creek, and the rest from Lake Istokpoga. There were also some small reverse flows into the lake from the Port Mayaca lock (S308). As a result of all this inflow, Lake stage has increased 1.5 ft in the past 2 weeks. Lake stage is now lapping at the banks of the bottom of the interior-levee littoral zone, at around 13.5 ft msl. Estuarine discharges down the Caloosahatchee (S79) have dropped down to 4,500 cfs for the week, which coincides pretty closely with the 5-yr average for September. Again, all of this flow is from watershed rainfall, not from the Lake (S77). Inflows from the Kissimmee river are still around 2,000 cfs below the 5-yr average flow for September.

WATER CONSERVATION AREAS. All three conservation areas have risen substantially over the past 2 weeks. Regulatory stage in WCA2 is currently about a half-foot above the 5-yr average September high-water mark, and and astounding 2 ft higher than just 2 weeks ago. As a result, the S11s are open wide and releasing close to 5,000 cfs into WCA3A, which is about 3,000-4,000 cfs more than the 5-yr average for September. Stage in WCA3A has risen about a foot in the past 2 weeks. WCA3A stage is currently tracking at the same identical level as last September, which also coincides with the 5-year average for the mid-point of September. The S12s have been openned to capacity and all the gates along the L28 levee (S343A, S343B, and S344) have been openned for the first time all summer of a result of the rising waters. As of Sunday, flows through the S12s were at 1,500 cfs.

BIG CYPRESS NATIONAL PRESERVE. Preserve-wide stage is currently tracking 2-3 inches higher than mid-September of last year, and about 1-2 inches above the 5-year average for mid-September. This places the wetland wetting front at at the base and into the mesic pinelands. Water levels in the Bear Island area rose substantially (~1.5 ft) from all the Ernesto rainfall. Total combined flows under US41 are now close to 4,000 cfs, which is about 1,000 cfs above the 5-yr average for mid-September, with the majority of this flow occurring on the western half of the preserve from Carnestowne to Monroe Station.
In summary, its September in south Florida. Wetlands are full and structures are flowing.

(1) Rainfall graphs. Don’t forget that if you click the “raindrops” graph on most of the watershed summaries, the computer will show you a comprehensive weekly, monthly, and yearly rainfall summary for that watershed — which nicely puts the current year’s rainfall numbers in historic context at a glance

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