Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday aimed at significantly reducing toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee to coastal estuaries and the Everglades.
The Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project, a joint effort between the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, includes two major features. A treatment wetland that will clean water and a reservoir that will store excess water from Lake Okeechobee.
SFWMD is constructing the 6,500-acre wetland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building the reservoir component, which will hold 240,000 acre-feet of water.
SFWMD Chairman Chauncey Goss said the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project is already 12 months ahead of schedule and the wetland is expected to be completed in 2023.
“Today marks a critical milestone for Everglades restoration and achieving our state’s long-term environmental goals,” said DeSantis.
The governor has made the EAA Storage Reservoir project a priority since taking office. In January 2019 he signed Executive Order 19-12 (Achieving More Now For Florida’s Environment) calling for $2.5 billion over four years for Everglades restoration and protection of water resources, the highest level of funding for restoration in Florida’s history.
“The EAA Reservoir is a cornerstone project that will help keep Everglades National Park wetlands and Florida Bay supplied with fresh, clean water, especially during the drier months when we need it,” said Pedro Ramos, Superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks.
You can follow the progress on the project at Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project Tracker.