The $1.8 billion project to build restoration upgrades to the Everglades has begun – announced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
A component of the State of Florida and the federal government’s Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Storage Reservoir Project in southwest Palm Beach County provides ecological benefits, reduces harmful discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, and sends clean water to the Southern Everglades and Florida Bay.
The project includes a combination of canals, stormwater treatment areas (STAs), and a storage reservoir anticipated to hold 240,000 acre-feet of water.
Following initial site preparation, the SFWMD will now begin construction of a new 6,500-acre STA west of the reservoir with associated inflow/outflow canals and levees to connect the Miami and North New River Canals. Future projects include additional conveyance capacity through enlargement of the Miami Canal and the North New River and a new 4,600-cfs inflow pump station to deliver water from the inflow canal to the reservoir and STA.
In the role of STA engineer of record, environmental engineering and construction firm Brown and Caldwell says it is providing geotechnical engineering; surveying; hydraulic and hydrogeologic modeling; and design of the new STA and its network of canals. The company says in a statement that it has expedited the design of the canals to ensure early construction commencement.
“We congratulate Governor DeSantis and the South Florida Water Management District on this important step and for their leadership, dedication, and foresight in maintaining and protecting South Florida’s natural water systems and wildlife habitats,” said Brown and Caldwell principal-in-charge Albert Perez.
The new STA is scheduled for completion in 2023, and the reservoir is expected to be complete in 2028.