June 8, 2017

SFWMD Governing   Board Approves Public Access and Recreational Use for Everglades Reservoir 
Vast expanse offers wildlife viewing, hunting, biking
The SFWMD Governing Board today opened the approximately 15,000-acre          A-1 Flow Equalization Basin for public recreational use. This is the latest in a long list of actions the Governing Board has taken to ensure public access to SFWMD-owned land. Click on map for larger version.

West Palm Beach, FL - T he South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today approved public access to one of its major Everglades restoration projects, the A-1 Flow Equalization Basin (FEB). This action adds thousands of additional recreation acres in western Palm Beach County, where residents and visitors can enjoy the outdoors.
"This Board remains committed to protecting public access of taxpayer-owned District resources," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Dan O'Keefe. "This is a win-win. The A-1 FEB has been providing tremendous benefits to the Everglades ecosystem and now the public will be able to enjoy all the area has to offer with hiking, biking, hunting, wildlife viewing and other activities."
The 15,000-acre A-1 FEB, located west of U.S. 27 in western Palm Beach
A-1 Flow Equalization Basin. Click on image for larger version.
County, was completed in 2015 as part of Gov. Rick Scott's $880 million Restoration Strategies Plan to enhance water quality in the Everglades. The basin can hold up to 60,000 acre feet of water, directing that water to nearby stormwater treatment areas (STAs) at a controlled rate to improve the ability of those STAs to remove nutrients from the water. Since its completion, the A-1 FEB has contributed to dramatic improvements in Everglades water quality. 
The Governing Board's action makes the area available for public waterfowl and alligator hunting, fishing, as well as hiking and biking on the levees around the property and wildlife viewing. These recreational activities will be managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Wood storks at the A-1 FEB. Click on image for larger version.
"Florida is renowned for exciting outdoor recreation and a rich abundance of fish and wildlife resources," said FWC Executive Director Nick Wiley. "The FWC applauds SFWMD's efforts to make even more of these resources open and available for public enjoyment as they should be. We are happy to partner with SFWMD in this endeavor and look forward to helping manage the recreational opportunities on this beautiful piece of natural land for generations to come."  

Approximately 86 percent - 654,273 acres - of all SFWMD-owned land is open to the public for recreational purposes. SFWMD actively manages these public areas so South Florida families are able to enjoy the lands that their tax dollars fund. At times, active construction or stages of restoration require portions of lands to be closed temporarily for public safety. Once construction is complete and projects operational, properties are opened for public recreational uses and activities consistent with the projects' purpose.

The Governing Board also recently expanded recreation in more than 3,400 acres of public lands. Allowed uses and maps are linked below:
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith  |   rrsmith@sfwmd.gov    |  Office: 561-682-2800  |  Cell: 561-389-3386
The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that manages the water resources in the southern part of the state. It is the oldest and largest of the state's five water management districts. Our mission is to protect South Florida's water resources by balancing and improving flood control, water supply, water quality and natural systems.

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