Withlacoochee River near Jumper Creek (November 2020)

With all the rainfall and high water,
We wanted you to have a quick update on the
Withlacoochee River Watershed!!

 2020 Year

Rainfall Keeps Water Levels Up
  • Winter is certainly in the air this week as we prepare for freezing temperatures overnight tonight.

  • Periods of cooler weather and minimal rainfall are signs that the seasons are changing here in Florida.

  • That’s a welcome sight for many of us who thought this year’s hurricane season would never end.

  • Our region received about 2.9 inches of rainfall in November, higher than the historical average (1.9 inches) for that month.

  • So far this year (January through November), we’ve received about 46 inches of rain, 5 inches less than the historical average for that period.

  • Aquifer (groundwater) conditions for our region are currently in the 63rd percentile; higher than average for this time of year.

  • Many of our region’s ditches, swamps and low areas are still holding water, which indicates we remain in a long-term wet cycle with no drought in sight.

 

monthly rainfall check
A Rainy Day in Flying Eagle Swamp (Novem

A Rainy Day in Flying Eagle Swamp (November 2020)

Withlacoochee River (from the Green Swamp downstream past Hwy 200)

Withlacoochee River
  • Water levels and flows along most of the Withlacoochee River increased over the past month, due to above-average rainfall in November.

  • The Withlacoochee River is currently higher and flowing stronger than it was last year at this time, even though we’ve received less overall rain in 2020.

  • This is because our region is still experiencing a multi-year wet cycle and the rainfall we did get this year, came later in the summer compared to last year.

  • Additional rainfall this winter will likely prevent the river from dropping very quickly.

 

Withlacoochee River MAp
Withlacoochee River near Jumper Creek (N

Withlacoochee River near Jumper Creek (November 2020)

Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes:

Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes
  • Water levels throughout the Tsala Apopka lake chain dropped 1-2 inches during the month of November, which is normal for this time of year.

  • The water control structures (aka “locks”) remain closed, helping to conserve water in the lakes/canals/swamps of this unique water body.

  • Water levels are monitored daily for the major pools of the lake chain using real-time gauges that provide instantaneous data.

  • In the coming weeks, we’ll be working towards installing real-time gauges on Lake Consuella and Lake Bradley in the southern portion of the lake chain.

  • Currently, levels on these two lakes are measured weekly, so this increased frequency of data will allow for better structure operations.

  • All three pools of Tsala Apopka are currently 6 inches higher than they were a year ago and remain near their high guidance levels.

 

Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes

Lake Panasoffkee and Wysong

Lake Panasoffkee
  • The water level on Lake Panasoffkee dropped about 4 inches in November.

  • Lake levels rise and fall due to changes in inflows to the lake and outflow to the Withlacoochee River.

  • Currently, the lake is at the same level it was a year ago.

  • Inflows to the lake from Little Jones Creek and Shady Brook are 21% higher than they were a month ago, thanks to November Rainfall in the adjacent swamps.

  • Outflow from Lake Pan has declined by around 31% over the past month, due to higher river levels from recent rains.

  • The main gate of the Wysong structure remains partially raised, helping to conserve water immediately upstream.

  • Wysong currently has little impact on Lake Panasoffkee water levels, since the lake is still quite a bit higher than the river.

  • Both dissolved oxygen (8.6 mg/L) and sunlight penetration to the lake bottom (41%) are in good shape for this time of year.

 

Minimal Impact of Wysong Structure (Nove

Minimal Impact of Wysong Structure (November 2020)

Lake Rousseau and the Lower Withlacoochee River (from Dunnellon to the Gulf of Mexico)

  • Downstream from Dunnellon, the Withlacoochee River is influenced by water control structures on Lake Rousseau.

  • There is currently 19% less flow entering Lake Rousseau compared to last month, but inflows are similar to what they were a year ago.

  • Last Monday, a virtual meeting (hosted by WAR, Inc) provided some great information about Lake Rousseau and the Lower Withlacoochee River.

  • One of the topics related to a potential drawdown of Lake Rousseau for environmental reasons.

  • This was strictly an informational presentation requested by the citizen group (WAR).

  • At this time, there are no realistic plans to conduct a drawdown on Lake Rousseau. Such an action would require much more investigation, public buy-in, a large monetary investment, and a favorable cost/benefit ratio.

 

Lake Rousseau inflows
  • Outflows from Lake Rousseau have decreased by about 18% over the past month.

  • All of the flow currently leaving Lake Rousseau is passing through the Inglis Bypass Spillway into the Lower Withlacoochee River.

  • The Inglis Main Dam is now closed and won’t be re-opened until inflows to the lake increase again.

 

Lake Rousseau outflows
Lake Rousseau map
Lake Rousseau map