Gov. Ron DeSantis visited the site of the Caloosahatchee (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir to break ground on the embankments and canals, a project that will complete this Everglades restoration project which was built mostly during former Gov. Rick Scott's watch.
DeSantis 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 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 who I know will work hard to see this project through.”
The C-43 Reservoir will intercept and store water released from Lake Okeechobee as well as local stormwater runoff. The project will reduce harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee Estuary during the wet season that can lead to harmful algal blooms. 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 is an exciting day for Florida’s Everglades and the Caloosahatchee Estuary,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “This project will reduce the volume of harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee during the wet season and provide critical freshwater flow to the Caloosahatchee during the dry season. I am confident this is one of many key projects that we will be able to celebrate over the next several years.”
The SFWMD is working to build approximately 19 miles of embankments, allowing the two-cell reservoir to hold 170,000 acre-feet of water, approximately 55.4 billion gallons. Fifteen miles of perimeter canals, 14 water control structures and public recreational features will all be incorporated into the completed site.
The SFWMD is partnering with DEP and local governments to evaluate water quality treatment options associated with the reservoir. A public process was launched this year to support a feasibility study to evaluate water quality improvement opportunities.
“The Caloosahatchee Reservoir is a lynchpin in restoring America’s Everglades,” said Shannon Estenoz, Chief Operating Officer of The Everglades Foundation. "The ability to provide freshwater to this vital estuary will protect Southwest Florida’s tourism, real estate and recreational economy. We thank the Governor for his continued leadership on restoring the Everglades."
The SFWMD is working with DEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite planning, permitting, design and construction projects in the Everglades. To learn more about these efforts, please visit www.SFWMD.gov/AchieveMoreNow.