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Politics

SFWMD Moving Ahead of Schedule on Plan to Send More Water South

October 13, 2017 - 6:00am
SFWMD's existing S-333 flood control structure
SFWMD's existing S-333 flood control structure

The South Florida Water Management District issued a statement during Thursday's Governing Board meeting announcing it is moving forward with two major components of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), the congressionally approved plan to move more water south and into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

"We have the funds, we have the plan, what we don't have is time when it comes to protecting these valuable resources," said SFWMD Executive Director Ernie Marks. "As the state leader in Everglades restoration, this District must step up to protect the Everglades and complete components of CEPP that will ultimately send more water south to Florida Bay."

Marks briefed SFWMD Governing Board members at their regular monthly business meeting Thursday about the progress being made concerning CEPP's implementation. Marks announced the District will begin design of the new water control structure, which will be located next to the existing S-333 structure in western Miami-Dade County.

This additional structure will double the amount of water that can be moved south out of Water Conservation Area 3A into the L-29 Canal. Construction of this additional structure is expected to begin next year.

The District said heavy rainfall in 2017 has resulted in high water emergencies and wildlife endangerment concerns in SFWMD Moving Ahead of Schedule on Plan to Send More Water South due to limitations in moving water out of the existing flood control gates. This project component will expressly address that concern.

Marks also announced that the District will begin working with Florida Power and Light to expedite power-line relocation from Old Tamiami Trail. This is a crucial step in modifying the trail to remove barriers to flow. SFWMD would work with FPL to remove the power lines along nearly 6 miles of the former roadway, he said. Restoration efforts would then be able to modify the stretch of Old Tamiami Trail, which acts as a dam inhibiting the natural sheetflow of water from the conservation area south into Everglades National Park.

A nearly six-mile section of Old Tamiami Trail in Miami-Dade County will be removed. SFWMD will work closely with Florida Power and Light Co. to remove the power lines along the old roadway. The project will allow more sheetflow south into Everglades National Park. 

Old Tamiami Trail. This is a crucial step in modifying the trail to remove barriers to flow. SFWMD would work with FPL to remove the power lines along nearly 6 miles of the former roadway. Restoration efforts would then be able to modify the stretch of Old Tamiami Trail, which acts as a dam inhibiting the natural sheetflow of water from the conservation area south into Everglades National Park.

"Along with bridging the Tamiami Trail, these two projects are essential to moving clean water south into Everglades National Park," said Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein. "We're proud to partner with the District to accelerate yet another critical Everglades restoration project under the leadership of Governor Scott."

The Central Everglades Planning Project is a $1.9 billion slate of storage and conveyance projects on land already in public ownership south of Lake Okeechobee. The southern components of this plan will allow additional water to be directed south to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay and provide additional opportunity to reduce releases to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. CEPP is congressionally authorized and awaiting funding. Other elements of CEPP include increasing southern storage, degrading sections of several levees, backfilling more than 13 miles of the Miami Canal and modifying the S-356 pump station to increase pumping capacity.

Comments

Gee, SSN actually backdoor admitting that sending water south to Florida Bay is a good thing, scientifically . . . . . . usually, when it comes to Florida Bay, Nancy gets her science wrong by such erroneous statements like "It's unfathomable to me that the Everglades Foundation can continue to claim “hypersalinity” is killing seagrass in Florida Bay -- proposing to “send water south” from Lake Okeechobee to save the bay" . . . AND . . . . "The hypersalinity "hypoorthesis" was never supported by science, much less common sense, and was officially de-bunked by the National Academy of Sciences over a decade ago. " . . . . . . . . . . . . of course, what the National Academy of Science has actually stated is quite a bit different from Nancy's "Fake News" --> (Progress Toward Restoring the Everglades: The Sixth Biennial Review, 2016): "In the mid- to late 1900s, Florida Bay was characterized as having clear water and dense seagrasss meadows, but in 1987, hypersaline conditions resulting from chronic and acute shortages of freshwater inflows triggered a cascade of ecological effects in the bay. Together with high temperatures, the hypersaline conditions caused hypoxic conditions and high sulfide levels that caused widespread seagrass collapse in the central and western portions of the bay, algal blooms, and increased turbidity (Deis, 2011; Hall et al., 1999) with major effects on commercial and recreational fishing. . . . In 2015, a seagrass die-off (Figure 2-3) was again observed in several locations in the bay. The 2015 seagrass die-off was attributed to local rainfall deficits associated with a strong El Niño which, in addition to the chronic shortage of freshwater deliveries, led to increased salinity in the bay (up to 72 practical salinity units [psu] in Garfield Bight, the highest salinity yet recorded in the bay) (NPS, 2016a). By late 2015, the spatial extents of seagrass die-off included areas such as Johnson Key, Rankin Lake, Pelican Key, Dido Key Bank, and Garfield Bight (NPS, 2016a). In the 1980s, the collapse of Florida Bay brought increased scientific, public, and political attention to the conditions of the Greater Everglades ecosystem and support for restoration actions to increase flows to and restore conditions in Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. Twentieth-century water management in South Florida had decreased freshwater inflow to the bay by about 60 percent compared to predrainage conditions, while altering the distribution and timing of that water (Herbert et al., 2011). CERP and non-CERP projects (e.g., C-111 Spreader Canal Western Project, C-111 South Dade), were authorized and constructed to help restore freshwater flows to Taylor Slough and Florida Bay, but as of 2015, flow restoration implementation was insufficient to prevent a recent reoccurrence of seagrass die-off." . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . actually knowing the science matters . . . . . . . . . . . . and, unfortunately, the right frequently ignores or misstates the known science to create their own bullying, "truthiness" spin . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

Great post.

More talk. They're just now beginning to design the water control structure? I think 1 sentence tells the whole story since the CEPP was approved. "CEPP is congressionally authorized and awaiting funding." Still waiting...

What about more clean water into the Gordon River into Naples bay???

What's going on here? The SFWMD is actually doing something good? I'll have to read this again after I have another cup of coffee to make sure I read it right.

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