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SFWMD submits EAA Storage Reservoir plan for federal approval

By Staff | Mar 27, 2018

The South Florida Water Management District submitted its plan on March 26 to build the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir for federal approval.

A Post Authorization Change Report seeking to build the reservoir as part of the congressionally-approved Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP) was submitted to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works in accordance with state law.

The Tentatively Selected Plan for the proposed reservoir included in the report will meet the goals set forth by the Florida Legislature when it passed Senate Bill 10 in 2017. It will reduce damaging discharges to the northern estuaries, deliver clean water for Everglades restoration and achieve water quality standards.

“After many months of hard work by district staff, this is a momentous day for the future of the Everglades and for all who call South Florida home,,” SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O’Keefe said. “This agency has done its job and created a plan that combines sound science with public feedback to achieve the goals and objectives of state law. It’s now up to our federal partners to carry the momentum on southern storage.”

Together with authorized projects, the plan will send an annual average of approximately 370,000 additional acre-feet of clean water south to the Everglades that will be protected by rule or reservation to benefit the natural system. It will also reduce the number of damaging discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries by 63 percent when used in conjunction with authorized projects.

The additional flows south to the Everglades proposed by the plan will be treated in a new 6,500-acre Stormwater Treatment Area in combination with existing ones and Flow Equalization Basins, such as the A-1 FEB, to achieve state water quality standards. The reservoir will store 240,000 acre-feet of water on the 10,100-acre site comprised of the district-owned A-2 parcel and lands to the west as identified in SB 10. The plan will work in conjunction with Gov. Rick Scott’s Restoration Strategies for a total of 350,000 acre-feet of storage south of Lake Okeechobee.

The net increase in cost over the currently authorized Central Everglades Planning Project is $1.1 billion. The total cost, defined as the capital investment costs, of the authorized CEPP, as modified by the report plan, is $3.17 billion (2018 price level).

The report was approved by the SFWMD Governing Board on March 8 and submitted this week, along with an independent peer review that found the report to be technically sound.

To read the full report or for modeling data, or for more information on the previously held public meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit online at www.sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.

Source: South Florida Water Management District