Ecosystem restoration work in south Florida is being accomplished through a number of local, state and federal programs and initiatives, including:
Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP)
Lake Okeechobee Protection Plan and Lake Okeechobee and Estuary Recovery Plan
Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program
The Florida Legislature, with the support of Governor Charlie Crist, authorized additional initiatives that include focused funding for the Caloosahatchee River Watershed. The 2007 State of Florida Watershed Restoration Legislation -- also known as the Northern Everglades and Estuaries Protection Program -- includes requirements for the District to prepare the following:
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan (see links below photo)
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Research and Water Quality Monitoring Program
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan
The Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan 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 draft plan and its appendices:
This Plan will address pollutant load reductions based upon adopted total maximum daily loads (TMDLs); and it will include a goal for salinity envelopes and freshwater inflow targets for the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The Plan includes the following elements:
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Construction Project. Planning, design and construction of the initial phase to improve the hydrology, water quality and aquatic habitats within the watershed.
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Pollutant Control Program. A multi-faceted approach to reducing pollutant loads by improving management of pollutant sources within the watershed by implementing regulations and best management practices (BMPs), developing and implementing improved BMPs, improving and restoring hydrologic function of natural and managed systems, and utilization of alternative technologies for pollutant reduction.
Caloosahatchee River Watershed Research and Water Quality Monitoring Program. Builds upon the South Florida Water Management District's existing Research and Water Quality program and is sufficient to carry out, comply with, or assess the plans and programs and other responsibilities.
The Final Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan will be submitted to the legislature no later than January 1, 2009, for ratification during the 2009 Legislative Session.
The Planning Process
Existing conditions in the plan area have been characterized using previous studies, current projects and planned initiatives in the Caloosahatchee Watershed. Current and planned projects that will help to achieve Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan objectives or that can be integrated directly into the plan also have been identified.
Water resources projects are planned and implemented to solve problems, meet challenges and seize opportunities. In this context, a problem can be considered an undesirable condition, while an opportunity offers a chance for progress or improvement. An initial step in the development of the Construction Project for the Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan is to identify problems, objectives and constraints that should be considered in the plan.
The identification of Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan problems and opportunities gives focus to the planning effort and aids in developing planning objectives. Problems and opportunities were identified through an interagency brainstorming process.
Planning objectives are statements of what a plan is attempting to achieve, and communicate the intended purpose of the planning process. Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan objectives were developed from the problems and opportunities. The planning objectives are intended to solve the identified problems and take advantage of recognized opportunities.
Constraints are restrictions that define the extent of the planning process, yet support and inform it. For the Caloosahatchee River Watershed Protection Plan development process, constraints were identified through an interagency brainstorming process in parallel with the problems and opportunities.
Also known as evaluation criteria, performance measures are benchmarks that are used to guide formulation of alternative plans and to evaluate plan performance.
Management measures are features or activities that can be implemented at a specific site within the study area to address one or more planning objectives. Management measures are building blocks of alternative plans. A comprehensive list of management measures was prepared, evaluated, screened to eliminate features or activities that did not contribute to meeting the planning goals and objectives.
Alternatives will be developed based on varying combinations of the management measures. For water quality, each sub-watershed will be evaluated with respect to its current nutrient load, concentration, land use and other relevant factors. For water quantity, excess water will be identified in each sub-watershed based on simulations of the existing condition. This information will be used to formulate alternatives that include the best combination of management measures to achieve overall project objectives for water quality and quantity.
Performance of each individual alternative plan will be assessed based on water quantity and quality analyses, and then performance measures will be used to compare the performance of each alternative plan to one another.