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SFWMD awards contract for Caloosahatchee reservoir construction

By Staff | Aug 14, 2015

The South Florida Water Management District today approved a contract authorizing the start of early construction on the massive Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir project. The work is a precursor for achieving water storage benefits before the entire reservoir is complete.

“While just the first step in construction of the reservoir, this work is crucial to making tangible improvements in the health of the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary,” said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Daniel O’Keefe. “This is yet another example of the recent progress that is being made on restoration projects throughout our region.”

The $10.8 million contract awarded to Blue Goose Construction, LLC, begins the first phase of work on the reservoir. The contract includes:

– Demolishing existing agricultural features such as buried pipes, culverts, irrigation pump stations and above-ground facilities across the 10,000-acre reservoir site

– Construction of 7 compacted, above-ground earthfill mounds reaching 56 feet high at select locations to help compact the ground to support future structures

– Moving approximately 1.8 million cubic yards of fill for the mounds, enough to fill 1 acre of land to a height of 1,100 feet, or 120 feet higher than the Eiffel Tower

– Preparation of the foundation for construction of the 16-mile dam that will surround the reservoir

The work is the first step for the SFWMD to undertake expediting construction of the facility as part of Governor Rick Scott’s commitment to South Florida ecosystem restoration. The project as a whole is a joint effort between the District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP).

Today’s action follows a June vote by the SFWMD Governing Board that authorized entering into an agreement designed to help the District receive federal cost credit for expediting construction.

C-43 Project Overview

The C-43 reservoir project was authorized by Congress in the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014.

It will one day hold approximately 170,000 acre-feet of water to be used during dry periods to help maintain a desirable minimum flow of fresh water to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. During the rainy season, the reservoir will capture and store excess stormwater and regulatory releases from Lake Okeechobee, helping to prevent excessive freshwater flows to the estuary.

Since 2012, the SFWMD has put the reservoir property to use with emergency water storage of summertime rainfall and high runoff. Temporary pumps and levee improvements have helped capture approximately 4.2 billion gallons of water that would have otherwise flowed to the river.

For more information on projects to protect and improve the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary, visit www.sfwmd.gov/caloosahatchee