Want to track the progress of the just-approved Everglades reservoir project? The South Florida Water Management District has you covered.
SFWMD launched a new web page Monday, featuring an interactive map and milestone tracker to allow the public to follow the progress of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.
View the new web page tracking the EAA Reservoir Project Progress.
"This project was approved by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, as part of an effort to reduce harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe in a statement announcing the interactive map's rollout. "This new web page allows citizens to see how their tax dollars are being spent on this project, as well as track the progress of this reservoir."
The Water Resources Law of 2017 -- Senate Bill 10 -- calls for SFWMD to construct a reservoir that can hold 240,000 acre-feet of water on about 18,000 acres of state-owned land in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of the lake. This property was originally purchased with the intention of building a shallow Flow Equalization Basin (FEB), which would have been known as the A-2 FEB.
The project was included in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, as well as Central Everglades Planning Project to improve the conveyance of water south from the lake to Everglades National Park. Instead, the land will now be used to build the much deeper 240,000 acre-foot reservoir. The EAA Reservoir is intended to help reduce damaging estuary discharges from the lake.
The web page displays to the public where the reservoir will be located, what steps required by the Legislature have already been completed and what key points remain. To date, SFWMD has identified the approximately 3,200 acres of land it owns (currently leasing to private entities) that would be used for the project and about 500 acres of privately owned land that would need to be acquired. SFWMD has already contacted the private landowners to express interest in acquiring their property.
By July 1, SFWMD will take the next step by sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting the Corps develop with SFWMD a "Post Authorization Change Report" to the project for approval by the U.S. Congress. This is necessary because the land was originally slated to be used as part of the congressionally-approved Central Everglades Planning Project.