Water levels drop as rainfall ebbs
SFL Weekly Watersheds Summary: Jul 31 – Aug 6

RAINFALL: It was a rainy July. Most areas south of the Lake received +10 inches of rain for the month. For the past 2 weeks the rain machine has been fairly inactive. Almost all the KOE watersheds received less than two inches over the past two weeks. Surface water levels have shallowed as a result.

KISSIMMEE RIVER: I’ve added a watershed summary for the Kissimmee Basin to the web site. You can’t click to it from the main “watersheds summary” page, but you can click to it from the Lake O page, just look for the Kissimmee button at the top left corner of the Lake O interactive map. The Kissimmee summary is still a work in progress. Special thanks to Andrew Geller and everyone on the Corps team up in Jacksonville for making this data available, and helping me put it together. The hydrology of the Kissimmee is much different than the Everglades to the south. Water pools >5 ft behind the structures south of Lake Istokpoga. Also, stages are dramatically higher. Up near the headwaters of the Kissimmee Basin in Lake Toho surface water stage is currently 52.5 ft above sea level. Lake Istokpoga is currently 38 ft above sea level. In comparison, Lake O stage is currently around 12 ft above sea level, central Big Cypress NP is currently around 10 ft above sea level, and central Shark River Slough is currently just above 6 ft above sea level (P33). The canal structures south of Lake Istokpoga pool up >5 ft of water, presumably to manage Lake O at such a lower level.

LAKE O: Be sure to check out the updated watershed summary for Lake O. I’ve updated the interactive map to make it more informative. Lake levels are still over a foot below the bottom of the littoral zone, 2 ft below its 5-yr average for early August, and 4 ft below where it was last August. The Kissimmee River is currently discharging into the Lake at around 500 cfs, which has been its steady rate since March.

WATER CONSERVATION AREAS: The S12s have openned further. They are currently discharging at just under 1000 cfs into Everglades National Park. The S11s have dropped down to around 2000 cfs, from a peak in late July of 3500 cfs. The S10s are currently discharging at under 200 cfs.

EVERGLADES AND BIG CYPRESS. Water levels have generally dropped a few tenths of a foot from their late July crest. Surface water is still inundating up into wet prairie habitat throughout most areas of the preserve and up into the ridge landscape type in Shark and Taylor Sloughs. Its interesting to note that ENP water levels just south of US41 have dropped about a half foot over the past two weeks, whereas just north of US41 in the WCA3A water levels have risen a few inches over the same two week period.

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