| January 3, 2018
West Palm Beach, FL - With the passage of Senate Bill 10, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) was tasked with developing a southern reservoir project plan that reduces harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and sends additional water south into the Everglades, all while meeting the state's stringent water quality standards.
During the District's ninth public meeting, its team showed stakeholders and interested parties how alternatives to build the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir Project, when used in conjunction with other ongoing restoration efforts, would significantly benefit the coastal estuaries and the entire Everglades.
The alternatives for the study include:
All of the proposed alternatives would treat water to meet the state's stringent water quality standards as required by Senate Bill 10.
All of the proposed alternatives would meet the CERP goal for increased flow to the Everglades by sending an annual average of about 98 billion gallons of treated water south.
All of the proposed alternatives would increase the flow of treated fresh water to Florida Bay at the southern end of the Everglades. This action would help to reduce elevated salinity levels in the bay after localized droughts that can cause seagrass die-off. SFWMD staff will continue to refine these alternatives.
The District has communicated with landowners in the EAA to identify willing sellers to either directly purchase or exchange their lands for any available state lands.
Background and Public Engagement
The process of planning for the reservoir began as Senate Bill 10. Earlier this year, the bill was authorized by the Florida Legislature in an effort led by Sen. Joe Negron, and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. A progress report on the District's findings regarding all of the project alternatives, including benefits and estimated costs, will be sent to the Legislature in January in accordance with state law.
A Post Authorization Change Report that will describe the most cost-effective alternative for this project as the next increment of the Congressionally-approved Central Everglades Planning Project will be sent to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Civil Works, for federal approval and cost sharing in March 2018.
If you would like to provide comments, you can still submit feedback via email to EAAreservoir@sfwmd.gov or through handwritten correspondence to:
Mike Albert, Project Manager
South Florida Water Management District
3301 Gun Club Road, MSC 8312
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
For modeling data and more information on the meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit www.sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.
To learn more about SFWMD's ongoing planning projects that are part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, visit www.sfwmd.gov/cerpplanning.