Florida Construction News staff writer
A ribbon cutting this week marked completion of the first cell of the 6,500-acre Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Stormwater Treatment Area which will store and clean water flowing from Lake Okeechobee before it is sent south.
The EAA Reservoir will help move water south which nourishes the Everglades, replenishes Florida’s aquifers and supports the Florida Bay. Additionally, the reservoir will help to reduce harmful discharges to the St. Lucie River, the Caloosahatchee River and the Lake Worth Lagoon.
“The EAA Reservoir is the crown jewel of Everglades restoration, ensuring that we are sending water south and reducing harmful discharges into our waterways,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “The opening of this stormwater treatment cell is a key milestone in the EAA Reservoir project and will help ensure the health of the Everglades for generations to come.”
In April 2020, the South Florida Water Management District began construction on the State of Florida’s component of the project, the Stormwater Treatment Area, 12 months ahead of schedule. Now, the first of three treatment cells is complete. The remaining cells will come online by this summer.
Executive Order 19-12 called for $2.5 billion to be invested in Everglades restoration and water quality improvements over four years and directed the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to expedite EAA Reservoir projects.
More than $3.3 billion has been approved for Everglades restoration and water quality improvements. Since 2019, more than 65 Everglades restoration projects have been completed or broken ground – the most in state history.