Caloosahatchee River and Estuary
The Caloosahatchee River and Estuary are west coast treasures, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Recognizing that the health of the river and its estuary is essential to the overall way of life for area residents, the South Florida Water Management District considers protection and improvement of the Caloosahatchee watershed an agency priority.
Extensive historical modifications to the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed have altered the hydrology of the region. As a result, heavy rainfall can bring large influxes of fresh water into the Caloosahatchee Estuary from stormwater runoff within the basin, Lake Okeechobee releases or both. The increased freshwater flows affect salinity levels and water quality in the estuary, potentially causing environmental harm.
To address these issues, the South Florida Water Management District is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal, state and local partners on a variety of strategies to improve the health of the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
Where is the Latest Data for the Caloosahatchee?
Using SFWMD's monitoring network and technical information, a wealth of data is available on this website for the District's 16-county region, including the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary:
- Operational Planning – Find weekly operational reports and other information on the current state of the system and water control operations, including water quality and environmental conditions such as salinity levels, Lake Okeechobee water control structure operations recommendations, rainfall outlook models and more.
- Real-Time Data – Check real-time water levels in lakes, canals and waterways or see whether coastal gates and other water control structures are open or closed.
- Rainfall Maps – See maps with historical rainfall totals, current radar-based rainfall estimates and more.
- DBHYDRO – Search this extensive environmental database for historical or up-to-date surface or groundwater information, as well as meteorological, hydrogeological and water quality data.
Data and Reports from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Daily Water Management Reports
- Lake Okeechobee Report
- Graphical Report for S-77 (Moore Haven) [PDF]
- Graphical Report for S-79 (W.P. Franklin) [PDF]
Background / Local Watershed
Beginning in the late 19th century, the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed underwent extensive modifications that drastically altered the hydrology of the region. The once shallow and crooked river was deepened and widened into a regulated waterway that was connected to Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes for navigation, water supply and flood control purposes.
Strategies for Improving the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary
The District and our local, state and federal partners have numerous efforts under way to improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee and better manage the timing and quantity of water flows from Lake Okeechobee. The District continues to work with the Corps to optimize water management strategies that may provide incremental improvements for both the estuary and the lake. We are also implementing short- and long-term solutions for improving the health of the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary while balancing regional flood control, water supply and environmental needs for South Florida's 8.1 million residents.