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    • Okeechobee Waterway Local Notice to Mariners Extracts

      Below you will discover extracts the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net has copied from the Local Notice to Mariners, that concern the Okeechobee Waterway. The choice of what to extract is based on our appraisal of news that is of primary interest to the cruising community, and should not in any way be considered a comprehensive relisting of all the information that is available in the Local Notice to Mariners’ various editions.
      Also, please note that LNM extracts are listed below in chronological order, based on publishing date.

    • LNM: Construction with Divers to Begin Dec 3, Okeechobee Waterway, Statute Miles 104-116

      This longterm construction project involving divers in the water will be on the south side of the Okeechobee Waterway between Miles 104 and 116. This is not a wide body of water and slow speed and a sharp lookout are the order of the day.

      Harry Pepper and Associates, Inc. will be conducting construction along the south shoreline of the Caloosahatchee River, at the mouth of the Townsend Canal, between Labelle, FL and Alva, FL. The project is expected to commence December 3, 2018 and conclude on or around May 3, 2022; operations will be occurring during daylight hours only. Signs will be posted to notify mariners that work is being conducted at the Townsend Canal, as well as to indicate the installation and location of a temporary manatee barrier. Mariners are advised to exercise caution, as divers will be periodically working inside the manatee barrier in the Caloosahatchee River and inside the weir on the Townsend Canal. Equipment will be conducting work from the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and Townsend Canal with barges present inside the weir. Chart 11428 LNM 46/18

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of LaBelle on the Okeechobee Waterway

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    • LNM: Phone Numbers for Florida Lock Operators

      If you lock through Canaveral or the Okeechobee Waterway, please put the numbers for the Corps locks into your phone. Remember to listen to any direction offered by the lock operator to ensure everyone’s safety as you lock through! Our thanks to Officer Erica Skolte for this information and advice.

      W.P. Franklin Lock 239-694-5451
      Ortona Lock 863-675-0616
      Moore Haven Lock 863-946-0414
      Port Mayaca Lock 561-924-2858
      St. Lucie Lock 772-287-2665
      Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421

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    • LNM: Okeechobee Lock Procedures in Hurricane Conditions

      Let’s hope we never need this information, but it should definitely be included in your Hurricane Procedures folder.

      Notice to Navigation – 72 hours prior to a Tropical Storm or Hurricane making local landfall locks will be open 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM supporting vessel safe harbor passage. Lock operations will stop 8 hours prior to land fall as Rail Road and Drawbridges will be lowered or rotated and locked into a secure position. It’s important that all vessels are at their intended destination before bridges are secured as passage across the waterway suspended.
      For Lock Operator safety the locks will:
      1. Stop locking vessels or working outdoors if lightning is observed within five miles of the lock and operations will not resume until lightning has not been seen in the area for 30 minutes.
      2. Stop locking vessels when winds exceed 35 MPH.
      After a storm it could be days or weeks before the waterway is reopen depending on damage to structures and how quickly debris creating navigation hazards can be removed.
      For up to date Lock information contact the shift operator 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM at;
      Canaveral Lock 321-783-5421
      St Lucie Lock & Dam 772-287-2665
      Port Mayaca Lock & Dam 561-924-2858
      Moore Haven Lock & Dam 863-946-0414
      Ortona Lock & Dam 863-675-0616 WP
      Franklin Lock & Dam 239-694-5451
      Chart 11428 11478 LNM 35/18

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    • NAV ALERT: LNM: Low Cable Restricting Air Space at Torry Island Bridge, Okeechobee Waterway Statute Mile 60

      This hazard was first posted on Cruisers’ Net in December of 2017, https://cruisersnet.net/168847, and, obviously, no progress is being made to raise the cable from 35ft to its charted height of 52ft.

      2): Hazard to Navigation

      The US Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has identified a low hanging fiber optic cable at the Torrey Island Bridge in RT-2 of the Okeechobee Waterway. The fiber optic cable is estimated to be 35 feet above the water; high mast vessels are encouraged to use RT-1 until the cable is raised to 52 feet. Recreational and commercial boaters are to use caution when navigating through these sections of waterway. Once the cable is raised to the required 52 feet normal traffic will be restored. USACOE POC is Gary Hipkins at 863-983-8101.
      Chart 11428 LNM 21/18

      Click Here To View the Okeechobee Cruisers’ Net Bridge Directory Listing For Torry Island Bridge

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Torry Island Bridge

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    • Florida USACE Prepares for Matthew

      Our thanks to Communications Specialist Erica Skolte of the Jacksonville USACE for this notice.

      US Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for impacts from Hurricane Matthew. We have adjusted the operating hours at the locks on the Okeechobee Waterway, and are ensuring users of our recreation facilities are aware they may need to evacuate. More information is attached and copied below.
      Please contact me if you have questions. Thanks for your help.
      John H Campbell SAJ

      Corps prepares for Matthew; issues guidance to boaters & campers

      As Hurricane Matthew makes its way through the Caribbean islands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District is preparing to respond as needed and providing information to boaters and campers on operational adjustments that will take place at navigation locks and recreation facilities.

      The Jacksonville District activated its emergency operations center (EOC) at 7 a.m. today (Oct. 4). This action allows district staff to devote added attention to the response actions that might be necessary should Matthew cause impacts as it passes near Florida.

      “Our staff is coordinating with state and local officials,” said Candida Bronson, Acting Operations Division Chief for Jacksonville District. “We are adjusting our operations to ensure the safety of those who use our facilities and our staff in south Florida.”

      Jacksonville District is issuing the following guidance on its operations in south Florida:
      * For boaters, the Corps has extended operating hours for its navigation locks on the Okeechobee Waterway; they will operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 4) and Wednesday (Oct. 5). Operating hours on Thursday will depend on the track of the storm. To ensure safety of lock operators, the Corps will suspend operations when lightning is in the area, or when winds exceed 35 mph.
      * For campers and visitors to recreation sites, Jacksonville District park rangers will monitor conditions at Corps’ campgrounds and recreation areas. If a county government issues an evacuation order for mobile homes or RV parks in an area where there is a Corps’ campground or recreational facility, rangers will order an evacuation of the facility and advise on shelter locations. Visitors should move all campers, motor homes, tents, vessels, and trailers from facilities under evacuation orders.
      * Today, field staff are conducting a pre-storm evaluation of the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. The current lake stage is 15.78 feet. While no immediate threat exists, the Corps advises people living and working around the lake to be prepared to take action should conditions warrant.

      More information on Jacksonville District response actions can be found at www.saj.usace.army.mil.

      John H Campbell
      Public Affairs Specialist
      Jacksonville District, US Army Corps of Engineers
      Jacksonville, FL
      Office: 904-232-1004
      Mobile: 904-614-9134

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    • Floating Vegetation Clogging Lake Okeechobee Routes, 10/1

      Until this vegetation is cleared, whether you take the rim route or the lake route, you are going to be delayed in crossing Lake Okeechobee. We will keep you posted as notices come in from the Corp of Engineers.

      Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is advising commercial and recreational vessels to use extreme caution traveling the Okeechobee Waterway Route 2 from Port Mayaca to Clewiston and Rim Canal from Clewiston to Moore Haven due to floating vegetation blocking sections of canal. Corps of Engineers is working to clear blocked areas as quickly as possible when found. Point of contact is Carl Williams at 863-983-8101.
      Thanks for helping to get the word out!
      Erica Skolte
      Public Affairs Specialist
      Corporate Communications Office
      U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
      South Florida Restoration Office, West Palm Beach

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Clewiston

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    • Changes in Lock Schedules, Okeechobee Waterway

      This notice of schedule changes was copied from East Coast Alerts by Mel Neale, April 9, 2015.

      Changes in Okeechobee Waterway Lock Schedule, April 1, 2015:
      a. 33 CFR Navigation and Navigable Waters
      1. Notice to Navigation Notice is given that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District will change hours of operation at all five Locks along the Okeechobee Waterway beginning 1 April 2015. Changes will affect operations at the St Lucie, Port Mayaca, Moore Haven, Ortona and W.P. Franklin Locks. Hours of operation will be 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily with lockages at St Lucie and WP Franklin based on Lake Okeechobee’s water level as outlined below.
      Lake Okeechobee Level:
      1) Above 12.5′ Lock operations on demand 07:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily.
      2) Below 12.5′ Lock operations every 2 hours (07:00 AM, 09:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
      3) Below 12.0′ Lock operations 4 per-day (07:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
      4) Below 11.5′ Lock operations 3 per-day (07:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 4:30 PM)
      5) Below 11.0′ Lock operations 2 per-day (07:00 AM, 4:30 PM)
      Lake Okeechobee water level can be viewed on the Corps of Engineers web site at http://w3.saj.usace.army.mil/h2o/currentLL.shtml
      Canaveral Lock near Canaveral Harbor will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. (from NOTICE TO NAVIGATION INTERESTS Date: 03/19/2015 NOTICE NUMBER: 003 US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS LOCAL NUMBER: 20150319 JACKSONVILLE DISTRICT)*

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    • Request for Comment on Lake Okeechobee Restoration

      This request asks for your comments on lake restoration in South Florida, including Lake Okeechobee.

      Public input sought on permit request allowing FWC lake restoration in south Florida
      Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission sent this bulletin at 03/11/2015 10:06 AM EDT March 11, 2015

      The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District to conduct restoration activities on four lakes and water bodies in the FWC’s South Region.
      This permit is required pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. The request is part of an overall initiative in which the FWC is working with the Corps to obtain permits for routine restoration work in 95 lakes and water bodies throughout Florida.
      The public can review the request and comment on it (see link below).

      The following water bodies within the FWC’s South Region are included in the permit application:
      ‘¢Lake Okeechobee in Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Martin and Palm Beach counties;
      ‘¢Lake Trafford in Collier County;
      ‘¢Lake Hicpochee in Glades County;
      ‘¢Lake Osborne in Palm Beach County.

      The Corps permitting process requires the opportunity for public comment. The Corps has published a Public Notice for the proposed work on its website at: http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx. To view the notice, click on the following file number to open the Public Notice: SAJ-2015-00641 (SP-SLR). If you would like to provide comments or have any questions regarding the Corps permit process, please follow the directions included in the Public Notice. Note that the Web address is case sensitive and should be entered as it appears above.

      Click Here to read the complete Bulletin

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    • Shoaling Reported In Okeechobee Waterway, St. Lucie River, Statute Mile 10, May 28, 2013

      Shoaling - Click for Chartview

      The developing shoal, reported below in this article cherry picked from the latest Local Notice to Mariners, lies directly along the path of the Okeechobee Waterway as it passes through the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, south and west of Stuart, Florida and a hop, skip and jump north of the St. Lucie Canal.

      The Coast Guard has observed significant shoaling in the vicinity of St Lucie River South Fork in the area between St Lucie River South Fork Buoy 30 (LLNR 51090 [27°10.7104N / 080°15.8057W, 27.178507 / -80.263428]) and the Palm City SR 714 Bridge at mile 9.5 of the Okeechobee waterway. Best water is near the green side of the channel depth as low as 4 feet were found center channel in position 27-10-33.630N/080-15-44.106W (27°10.5605N / 080°15.7351W, 27.176008 / -80.262252) . St Lucie River South Fork Buoy 30 (LLNR 51090 [27°10.7104N / 080°15.8057W, 27.178507 / -80.263428]) has been relocated to position 27-10-42.626N 080-15-48.339W (27°10.7104N / 080°15.8057W, 27.178507 / -80.263428) to mark shoaling. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the
      area. Chart 11428

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position in St. Lucie River

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    • Shoaling in St. Lucie River, Okeechobee Waterway, Statute Mile 1, Stuart, FL, 5/18/2014

      St. Lucie Shoaling – Click for Chartview

      This shoaling is in a section known as Hell Gate just west of Sewall Point at the mouth of the St. Lucie River and near the easternmost section of the Okeechobee Waterway. The coordinates given in the Notice put the temporary buoy 17A in the middle of Sewall Point, but we have to assume it is near the charted green marker #17. Since the shoaling (charted) is encroaching from the west, favoring the green side of the channel is your best bet.

      The Coast Guard has established St Lucie River Temp Buoy 17A in position 27-11-02.516N/080-11 49.228W. The Buoy marks a shoal that is encroaching the St Lucie River from the west. Mariners are urged to use caution while transiting the area.
      Chart 11428

      That shoal has been encroaching VERY slowly for many years. It is high time NOAA revised the double dashed channel line; they should have ten years ago!
      W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.

      Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To A “Navigation Alert” Position in St. Lucie River

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