The S10, S11, and S12s open
SFL Weekly Watersheds Update: July 17-23
RAINFALL. Watersheds south of the Lake continue to get lots of rain. ENP, Big Cypress NP, WCA3A, and the southwest coast have received around 12 inches over the past 30 days. The Lake and Kissimmee basin have received only around 5 inches over the same 30 day period.
WATER CONSERVATION AREAS. S10d was openned last week, and is flowing into Water Conservation Area 2, currently at a rate of under 500 cfs. Gates 11a and 11b were also openned last week, and are now flowing into NE WCA3A at about 1000 cfs. Down south along the Trail, S12d and S12c are also open, but combined flows are still under 500 cfs. (Last year the S12s peaked at +4000 cfs). Inflows into 3A are also occurring pretty much at all its upstream discharge points — S190, S140, S8, and S9. Currently, approximately 1.5 ft, 2.75 ft, and 3.0 ft of water are pooling up behind the S12s, S11s, and S10s. I would expect headwater-tailwater pooling to diminish as the gates open more and water levels on either side equilibrate. Water levels in the conservation areas have risen to or above the ridge landscape type, with water depths at Site 65 (southern 3A) reporting water depths of a little over 2 feet deep.
EVERGLADES NP and BIG CYPRESS NP. In Big Cypress NP, surface water is on average reaching up into the hydric pines, but mesic pinelands appear to be dry in most places. Surface water is currently deepest to the east of Turner River Road where water piles up behind US41 and Turner River Road. The good news is that this water flows into Turner River, which as of last week is flowing above 100 cfs. Water levels are currently shallowest in the northwest corner of the preserve (Bear Island) where water levels are still only showing at the cypress level. So water levels are up, but its a mixed bag out there. Surface water in ENP is reaching up into the ridge and bayhead landscape types in most areas, even without the S12s flowing. I’m curious to see how park water levels will respond once the S12s are open more. There seems to be a lot of flow moving through the C-111 system. Several structures down there are showing flows in the +500 cfs range.
LAKE O. Lake O stage is still hovering just above 12 ft above sea level. Lake O stage has now been below the bottom of the lake’s littoral zone (13.5 ft above sea level) for about 3 months now (since the start of May). Two pulses of +2000 cfs flows have discharged through the S79 in the past 2-3 weeks, but all of this flow has been watershed flow from the East Caloosahatchee basin — not from the lake (S77).