Minimum Discharges Resume on Harris Chain of Lakes
The St. Johns River Water Management District will return discharges on the Harris Chain of Lakes to minimum levels beginning Monday, May 2. This follows a five-month test measuring the effects of a reduction in the discharges to reduce the effects of a drought and to improve water levels.
In December, the District's Governing Board approved the temporary elimination of discharges of water through the Apopka-Beauclair and Burrell locks and dams to protect water levels and water quality in Lake Apopka and in the other water bodies in the Harris Chain of Lakes. The discharges through Moss Bluff were reduced in January to hold more water back in Lake Griffin, which would have fallen lower because of continued dry conditions.
Although some fluctuation in water levels is beneficial, there is a strong correlation between extreme low water levels in Lake Apopka and reduced water quality.
"During this time, water levels increased in the entire Harris Chain of Lakes (lakes Beauclair, Dora, Eustis, Harris and Griffin) and Lake Apopka. These higher lake levels also protected the improved water quality of Lake Apopka," said David Walker, basin program manager for Lake Apopka and the upper Ocklawaha River.
On Monday, discharges through the Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam will be increased from zero to 10 cubic feet per second (cfs). The Burrell Lock and Dam discharge will increase from zero to 28 cfs and the discharge at Moss Bluff will increase from 10 to 30 cfs.