Underscoring the state's commitment to Greater Everglades Ecosystem restoration, the Florida Legislature in 2007 expanded the Lake Okeechobee Protection Act to strengthen protection for the Northern Everglades by restoring and preserving the Lake Okeechobee watershed and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries.
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan
St. Lucie River Watershed Protection Plan
The River Watershed Protection Plans for the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie River Watersheds have been developed in response to the 2007 Florida State legislation, which authorized the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program [Section 373.4595, Florida Statutes]. The following links allow on-line viewing or downloading of the plans and their appendices:
Lake Okeechobee Watershed Construction Project Phase II Technical Plan
The Phase II Technical Plan for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Construction Project has been developed in response to the 2007 Florida State legislation, which authorized the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program [Section 373.4595, Florida Statutes]. The following links allow on-line viewing or downloading of the technical plan and its appendices:
The legislative mandate for the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program (§373.4595), being implemented by the South Florida Water Management District in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, brings under a single umbrella the legislative drivers for several on-going ecosystem restoration programs in the Lake Okeechobee Watershed.
The Northern Everglades Initiative provides a platform for ensuring that future Lake Okeechobee restoration and protection efforts are holistically aligned and build upon the success of past and current initiatives. The primary initiative under the Northern Everglades Initiative is the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program.
The goals and objectives of this initiative are supported by two complementary initiatives that are currently being initiated within the same geographic area, namely the Lake Okeechobee and Estuary Recovery Program and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
Lake Okeechobee Protection Program
The Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (LOPA, Chapter 00-130, Laws of Florida) established a restoration and protection program for Lake Okeechobee called the Lake Okeechobee Protection Program, to be accomplished by achieving and maintaining compliance with State water quality standards in the lake and its tributary waters through a phased, watershed-based comprehensive and innovative protection program.
This program was designed to reduce phosphorus loads and implement long-term solutions, based upon the Lake's phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and considering the establishment of TMDLs for the tributaries of Lake Okeechobee. The overall objective of LOPA is to meet the Lake Okeechobee total phosphorus TMDL of 140 metric tons by 2015.
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) provides a framework and guide to restore, protect and preserve the water resources of central and southern Florida, including the Everglades. The goal of CERP is to capture fresh water that now flows unused to the ocean and the gulf and redirect it to areas that need it most. The majority of the water will be devoted to environmental restoration. The remaining water will benefit cities and farmers by enhancing water supplies for the south Florida economy.
The goals and objectives of the CERP and the Northern Everglades Initiative significantly overlap, hence, the efforts complement and support one another. Within the Lake Okeechobee Watershed, CERP has recommended implementation of the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Project and construction of several Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells. Further, CERP recommendations include implementation of several projects in watersheds adjacent to the Lake Okeechobee Watershed, such as the C-43 Reservoir project, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area Project, the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project and ASR wells.
To learn more about the components of this far-reaching and comprehensive restoration plan, click the tabs at the top of this page.