Corps to inspect St. Lucie Lock on March 10; Port Mayaca Locks closed; No lake water will flow to St. Lucie River while St. Lucie Lock gates are open for inspection

STUART — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will conduct a routine inspection of the St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) March 10.

As part of the Jacksonville District’s Routine Inspection Program for Operation & Maintenance purposes, the district schedules a series of inspections throughout the year of features such as pump stations, spillways, culverts, locks, and other structures managed by the Corps. The inspections help ensure operability and functionality of the features. St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) is one such feature. The scheduled inspection requires the Corps to open and close the spillway gates and the sector gates on the lock to make sure everything is operating correctly.

During the inspection, the Corps will need to make minimal releases of water from S-80 during the testing of the spillway gates. The navigational lock will continue normal operations during the inspection, and the spillway gates will only remain open for the minimum time necessary to complete the inspection. In advance if the inspection, the spillways at the Port Mayaca Lock and Dam (S-308) will be closed and boats will lock through on request. Water releases are not expected to last for more than a few hours.

The latest Florida Department of Environmental Protection Algal Bloom Report for the week of Feb. 21-27 stated NOAA satellite imagery for Lake Okeechobee indicated low bloom potential on Lake Okeechobee. No significant bloom potential was observed in the most recent viable imagery for the St Lucie River. USACE operators have not observed any significant algae at either S-308 or S-80 in the past week. (NOAA images do not show actual algae; they indicate the potential for algae blooms.)

When the level of Lake Okeechobee is lower than the level of the water in the C-44 lock, if the Port Mayaca gates are open, water from the C-44 canal can backflow into the lake. On Saturday, the lake was 12.54 feet above sea level. Water managers try to keep the St. Lucie canal at 14 to 14.5 feet.

The corps has not released any water from Lake Okeechobee through the St. Lucie lock since March 2019.

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