Everglades restoration projects move forward to restore 'river of grass'
April 29, 2014
By Dave Foster
WASHINGTON (April 30, 2014) - The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works today announced policy guidance to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will move two south Florida ecosystem restoration projects towards completion. C-111 South Dade and Kissimmee River Restoration are critical to the overall efforts to restore the south Florida ecosystem, in particular the habitat of the central portion of the Everglades Ecosystem, the river of grass.
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, notes resolution for the C-111 South Dale Project and Kissimmee River Restoration Project will greatly benefit the Everglades.
"We are encouraged by these advancements with our partner, the South Florida Water Management District. Together we have found solutions to ensure that these critical projects get to completion. We need to keep up the momentum of projects' construction in order to move the water south and improve the health of the entire Everglades ecosystem," Darcy stated.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the project's non-Federal sponsor, the South Florida Water Management District, will amend the existing Project Cooperation Agreement for C-111 South Dade. This will make it consistent with the project authorization and allow construction to resume after a pause of almost two years. Features to be completed include the Northern Detention Basin which is designed to reduce seepage losses from Everglades National Park.
Project construction at the Kissimmee River Restoration Project also will now restart. Completion of the remaining features and updating the project operations plan are expected to restore approximately 9,000 acres of additional floodplain, which represents 24 percent of the benefits expected to be provided by the full project.
The portions of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project completed to date, has already resulted in improvements to the ecosystem of this valuable floodplain exceeding original expectations, with dramatic increases in wading birds, ducks, and native fish populations. The entire project, which is expected to be complete in 2019, will store more water north of Lake Okeechobee, thus reducing the volume of damaging discharges that currently affect the estuaries east and west of the Lake.
Since 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has more than $750 million for planning, engineering, design, and construction in support of Everglades restoration.
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