June 5, 2019

Stakeholders and Officials React to Major Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir Project Announcement

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - This morning, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) announced  the latest steps it has accomplished in the ongoing effort to expedite the construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project. 

The District submitted permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection to begin clearing land for the project. Implementing Governor DeSantis' "Achieving More Now For Florida's Environment" Executive Order, the District has aggressively accelerated the initiation of construction by 18 months.
Below is what governmental officials and leaders in Florida's environmental and agricultural communities are saying:

"Accelerating construction on the EAA Reservoir Project by a full year and a half is a giant leap forward," said SFWMD Governing Board Chairman Chauncey Goss. "This Governing Board is fully committed to implementing Governor DeSantis' Executive Order and advancing this critical Everglades restoration project in a timely manner. This acceleration demonstrates that commitment."
"Today's announcement is a step forward toward completing the long-overdue Everglades Reservoir. The new leadership of the South Florida Water Management District should be congratulated for making this project a priority," said Eric Eikenberg, Chief Executive Officer of The Everglades Foundation. "This is a necessary initial component of the larger project that is critical to our waterways and must be implemented expeditiously. Only by the reservoir becoming fully operational can we address our continuing water challenges, and Florida cannot afford to wait."

"Kudos to the South Florida Water Management District for pushing to begin work for canals to serve the future Everglades reservoir," said Julie Wraithmell, Executive Director at Audubon Florida. "This urgently needed project has a lot of moving parts and will take time to complete as South Florida can ill-afford any delays. The Governor and Legislature provided real leadership this year with historic appropriations to Everglades Restoration, and Audubon is thrilled to see the District translating this urgency into action." 

"The environmental benefits of the EAA Reservoir Project are now within sight," said SFWMD Governing Board Member Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch. "Reducing damaging discharges to our coastal communities and sending more water south are exactly what Floridians have been asking for and deserve. Gov. DeSantis' leadership continues accelerating this project, and today we are one step closer to completing this important project."  

"Florida Crystals has been a partner in Everglades restoration for more than two decades," said Gaston Cantens, Vice President of Florida Crystals. "We are proud of the success that has been achieved in the southern Everglades thanks to the long-standing collaboration between the State of Florida, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and our Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) farming community.  We are committed to working closely with the SFWMD to help facilitate construction of the EAA reservoir like we have done with other restoration projects."

About the EAA Storage Reservoir
SFWMD created the plan for the EAA Reservoir. Together with authorized projects, the EAA Reservoir will send an annual average of approximately 370,000 additional acre-feet of clean water south to the Southern Everglades that will be protected by rule or reservation to benefit the natural system. It will also reduce the number of damaging discharge events from Lake Okeechobee to the northern estuaries by 63 percent when used in conjunction with authorized projects.
Additional flows through the Southern Everglades that are proposed in the plan will be treated in the new 6,500-acre A-2 STA in combination with existing STAs and Flow Equalization Basins (FEBs), such as the A-1 FEB, to achieve state water quality standards. The reservoir will store 240,000 acre-feet of water on the site comprised of the District-owned A-2 parcel and lands to the west as identified in Senate Bill 10 (2017). The EAA Reservoir will work in conjunction with Restoration Strategies for a total of 350,000 acre-feet of storage south of Lake Okeechobee.
To read additional information related to the EAA Reservoir or for modeling data and more information on the previously held meetings, including agendas and presentations, visit  www.sfwmd.gov/eaareservoir.
Media Contact: 
Randy Smith |   rrsmith@sfwmd.gov    |  Office: (561)-682-6197 | 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  safeguard and restore South Florida's water resources and ecosystems, protect our communities from flooding, and meet the region's water needs while connecting with the public and stakeholders.

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