This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (October 2015)
The St. Lucie Canal, also known as the C-44 Canal or simply C-44, is a man-made canal in Martin County, Florida, connecting Lake Okeechobee to the Indian River Lagoon. The canal was built between 1916 and 1924 to divert floodwaters from the lake into the St. Lucie Estuary via the South Fork of the St. Lucie River. Deepened in 1937 to enable the passage of boats, the St. Lucie Canal is now the eastern segment of the Okeechobee Waterway.
|St. Lucie Canal|
|Location||Martin County, Florida|
|Length||26 miles (42 km)|
|Total rise||11–12.5 feet (3.4–3.8 m)|
|Navigation authority||U.S. Army Corps of Engineers|
|Start point||Lake Okeechobee|
|End point||Indian River Lagoon|
The C-44 has been a source of contention since its construction. The canal has had significant environmental impacts—restoration projects in the St. Lucie River are the northernmost component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
The St. Lucie Canal connects to Lake Okeechobee at Port Mayaca, Florida. The canal is 8 feet (2.4 m) deep as a result of its second deepening in 1949. It has a rate of flow of 9,000 cubic feet (250 m3) per second. In 1933, 16 fixed spillways were approved for construction to reduce shoaling.
Water flow edit
In 1924, the canal′s original flow capacity was 5,000 cubic feet (140 m3) per second. In 1937, the canal was deepened to 6 feet (1.8 m) increasing its flow capacity. In 1949, it was deepened to 8 feet (2.4 m), which increased the flow capacity to 9,000 cubic feet (250 m3) per second.
Locks and structures edit
There are two locks on the St. Lucie Canal. The Port Mayaca Lock and Dam (also known as S-308) is located at the western end of the canal at its outlet to Lake Okeechobee. Its rise is typically 0.5–2 feet (0.15–0.61 m). The St. Lucie Lock and Dam (S-80) divides the canal from sea level on the eastern side, a rise of about 10.5 feet (3.2 m).
A structure known as S-153 regulates water flow from the Levee 65 Borrow Canal into the St. Lucie Canal.
Fresh water discharge edit
One of the major problems resulting from the construction of C-44 is that control of the water levels of Lake Okeechobee causes too much fresh water to discharge from the canal into the St. Lucie Estuary. Large discharges from Lake Okeechobee into C-44 cause salinity levels to drop rapidly, killing many species in the estuary.
High flow rates in the canal result in erosion and the transport of sediment into the St. Lucie Estuary that can smother benthic habitats. The increased turbidity of high flow rates also results in sediment filling navigation channels.
Drainage basin edit
Drainage from the canal′s drainage basin into the St. Lucie Canal creates water quality problems in the St. Lucie Estuary.
Construction of the C-44 Canal began in 1916 and was completed in 1924. The original purpose of the canal was to allow for an improved way to divert floodwaters from Lake Okeechobee. The canal was originally designed to flow into Manatee Pocket instead of the South Fork of the St. Lucie River.
- 1916: Construction begins on canal C-44.
- 1924: Construction is completed, providing a flow capacity of 5,000 cubic feet (140 m3) per second.
- 1937: The C-44 is deepened to 6 feet (1.8 m) to allow for the navigation of vessels to and from Lake Okeechobee.
- 1949: The C-44 is deepened to 8 feet (2.4 m), increasing the flow capacity to 9,000 cubic feet (250 m3) per second.
- "Florida Department of Environmental Protection -- Ecosummary: C-44 Canal, Martin County, Florida" (PDF). Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Florida Department of Environmental Protection. March 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2016.
- "Florida Department of Environmental Protection -- Significance of North Fork St. Lucie River Aquatic Preserve".
- "Jacksonville District – Port Mayaca Lock and Dam". www.saj.usace.army.mil. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 19 February 2022.
- "Jacksonville District – St. Lucie Lock and Dam". www.saj.usace.army.mil. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Retrieved 19 February 2022.