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New day, new opportunities for managing water

By Staff | Mar 19, 2019

Rae Ann Wessel

It was a refreshingly optimistic day at the South Florida Water Management District last week as seven new appointees were sworn in to serve as the Governing Board.

Their first order of business was to elect Chauncey Goss to serve as board chairman and Scott Wagner as vice chair. Next, they selected Drew Bartlett to serve as the agencies executive director.

“It is up to this district to knock down all obstacles to ensure comprehensive Everglades restoration is implemented quickly,” Drew announced in accepting the position.

This welcome news establishes a team that can implement the governor’s Executive Order to address our region’s serious water issues.

Forward progress continued with a unanimous vote to award a $524 million contract to complete the Caloosahatchee (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir in Hendry County. This contract includes building approximately 19 miles of embankments, 15 miles of perimeter canals and 14 water control structures, as well as recreational features on the 10,500-acre site. The reservoir is designed to hold 170,000 acre-feet of watershed runoff at depths of 15-25 feet to provide an additional source of water for estuary dry season flows.

The SFWMD is the largest water management district in the state, covering 16 counties supporting a population of 8.1 million residents.

Rae Ann Wessel is the natural resources policy director for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. For more information about the SCCF, visit www.sccf.org.