Work has already begun on C-43 Reservoir

LABELLE — On Friday, Oct. 25, Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the site of the Caloosahatchee (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir to break ground on the embankments and canals to complete this important Everglades restoration project. The governor was joined by members of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), as well as conservation groups, local community leaders and other environmental stakeholders.

“This is a big step forward in expediting one of our most important Everglades restoration projects,” said Gov. DeSantis. “Once complete, the C-43 Reservoir will store approximately 55 billion gallons of water, with 19 miles of embankments and 15 miles of canals to reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and help bring the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary back to health. I thank our partners at the South Florida Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection.”

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News
Hendry County officials attended a groundbreaking with Gov. Ron DeSantis at the C-43 Reservoir in Hendry County just east of LaBelle. The 10,000-acre reservoir is one of many water quality projects in progress in Hendry County.

The C-43 Reservoir will intercept and store water released from local basin runoff as well as water released from Lake Okeechobee. It will also allow water managers to deliver critical freshwater to the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary during the dry season when the estuary needs freshwater. The reservoir is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

“This project is a testament to the close partnership the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the South Florida Water Management District have built over the years, and an example of what federal and non-federal partnerships can accomplish when we collaborate,” said Col. Andrew Kelly, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District. “It is amazing to look back and appreciate that the funding for this project was a combination of local, state and federal monies to help us get to this point. We applaud the State of Florida and the SFWMD for funding the construction of this reservoir.”

The SFWMD is working to build approximately 19 miles of embankments, allowing the two-cell reservoir to hold 170,000 acre-feet of water. Some 15 miles of perimeter canals, 14 water control structures and public recreational features will all be incorporated into the completed site.

“Today marks the first step to complete a critical CERP project that will bring much-needed relief to the Caloosahatchee Estuary,” said West McCann, Audubon Florida board member. “This is a great day for Florida’s families and wildlife. Completing Everglades restoration projects will create additional flexibility to put water where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and keep it away from causing harm to our communities.”

“We applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis for his commitment to completing Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) projects that are critical to stopping the damaging freshwater discharges and advancing restoration,” said Judy Sanchez, senior director for corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar. “As a partner in Everglades Restoration for nearly 25 years, the people of U.S. Sugar share Gov. DeSantis’ strong desire to complete all projects that will increase storage and treatment north, south, east and west of Lake Okeechobee.

“Once completed, the C-43 Reservoir will provide the people of Southwest Florida some much-needed relief.”

“The project also furthers the goal of meeting the minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for the Caloosahatchee Basin.

“Finally, we also support the governor’s request to have treatment components added to the project. We look forward to the completion of this major piece necessary to solving challenges associated with harmful discharges.”

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