WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board today approved several actions that will help expedite the completion of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands Restoration project in Miami-Dade County.
"This pristine and beautiful ecosystem is one of the most beautiful natural resources in South Florida. Restoration of this ecosystem includes restoring the flow of clean freshwater to the wetlands, and I'm glad we're moving this important Everglades restoration project forward," said SFWMD Governing Board Member Charlie Martinez. "
I look forward to our strong partnership with Miami-Dade County to protect and restore this natural treasure."
This Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands project, a component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), will restore freshwater flows to southern Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park while improving salinity distribution near the shoreline. It will also restore historical freshwater wetland habitat adjacent to the bay, which acts like a sponge, soaking up water in the wet season and slowly releasing it in a more natural pattern.
This project will improve the area's ecological health by helping to reestablish productive nearshore habitat, including nursery habitat for shrimp, shellfish and fish. Additionally, the project will restore the distribution of freshwater flows to southern Biscayne Bay and Biscayne National Park while improving salinity distribution near the shoreline.
The Governing Board approved a share of the costs to design one of the components of the project, the Cutler Wetlands Flow-way. The project is a 50-50 cost-share with Miami-Dade County, who has been a partner in the ongoing environmental restoration work, and the design work is scheduled to be completed by next year.
I'm proud of the collaboration between Miami-Dade and the South Florida Water Management District on the Cutler Flow-way completion," said
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
"Our combined effort will go a long way to restoring the wetland habitat critical to a healthy Biscayne Bay and help us protect against saltwater intrusion into our water supply."
The Governing Board also approved entering into a grant agreement with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that would give SFWMD $1.5 million in state funding, originally allocated by the Florida Legislature, to pay for planning the second phase of the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands restoration. The second phase is expected to deliver more freshwater to the bay and Biscayne National Park to help balance salinity levels and improve habitat.
For more updates on SFWMD's work: