Water control structures to be opened on Harris Chain
PALATKA – The St. Johns River Water Management District will open the Burrell and Moss Bluff locks and dams in Lake and Marion counties on Dec. 5 due to rising water levels. The structures will be open for the first time in more than 2½ years.
Lake levels on the Harris Chain are managed according to a flood control regulation schedule that requires releases once water levels reach certain elevations. The area has received above normal rainfall over the past year and lake levels have risen, leading to a return of the discharges.
"The District will release some water from lakes Dora, Harris, Eustis and Griffin because of the increasing water level in those lakes," said Jay Brawley, Lake Apopka and Upper Ocklawaha River Initiative leader for the District. "These releases will allow for flood protection and will return flow through the Harris Chain of Lakes and the Upper Ocklawaha River."
Management of lake levels allows for a variety of activities, including boating and fishing, and positively impacts ecologic functions. If the lake levels drop to minimum desirable levels, the District will re-evaluate the discharges.
An extended drought led the District to stop all discharges through the chain's water control structures in spring 2012. In June 2012, after receiving input from the public, the District's Governing Board voted to end discharges until water levels returned to the minimum desirable levels.
Because Lake Apopka is four inches below its minimum desirable level and 12 inches below regulation, no discharges are needed at this time through the Apopka-Beauclair Lock and Dam in Lake County. If the regulation schedule is reached for Lake Apopka, releases will begin there as well.