SFWMD advances Everglades Agricultural Area resevoir project

WEST PALM BEACH — The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) continues expediting progress on the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project. At last week’s Governing Board meeting, Executive Director Drew Bartlett announced the District had successfully submitted a federal permit application for the construction of the 6,500-acre Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) associated with the EAA Reservoir Project.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
The South Florida Water Management District has submitted complete permit application to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Stormwater Treatment Area (STA) component of critical EAA Reservoir Project.

The EAA Storage Reservoir is a joint Everglades restoration project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and SFWMD. The USACE will construct the storage reservoir and the District will construct the water-cleansing STA.

Implementing Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Achieving More Now For Florida’s Environment” Executive Order that called on the District to expedite the EAA Reservoir Project, SFWMD is actively accelerating this project to bring the STA online as quickly as possible.

SFWMD is already conducting site geotechnical work on the project site. As soon as the USACE permit is issued, the district expects to start construction on the intake canal to serve the STA and reservoir.

“The District is quickly advancing the EAA Reservoir Project under the direction of Gov. DeSantis. Each step we accomplish brings us closer to the completion of this critical project,” said SFWMD Executive Director Drew Bartlett. “The stormwater treatment area is a major component that cleanses water, reduces discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the coastal estuaries, meets the state’s water quality standards and increases the flow of clean water to the Southern Everglades.”

According to the SFWMD, the EAA Storage Reservoir Project will store 240,000 acre-feet of water on the site comprised of the District-owned A-2 parcel and lands to the west as identified in Senate Bill 10 (2017). It will work in conjunction with Restoration Strategies for approximately 350,000 acre-feet of storage south of Lake Okeechobee. The project will reportedly reduce the frequency of damaging discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries by 63 percent when used in conjunction with authorized projects.

The STA component will work in conjunction with other STAs and Flow Equalization Basins (FEBs) to meet water quality standards and increase the flow of clean water to the Southern Everglades by an annual average of 370,000 acre-feet per year. That additional flow of clean freshwater will be protected to benefit the natural system including the Everglades and Florida Bay.

To read additional information related to the EAA Storage Reservoir or for modeling data and more information on the previously held meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.

To read more about all of the key environmental restoration project being expedited by SFWMD, visit sfwmd.gov/AchieveMoreNow.

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