MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Today, the South Florida Water Management District joined federal, state, and local officials along with stakeholders to celebrate the completion of an underground seepage wall in the 8.5 Square Mile Area (Las Palmas Community). The 8.5 Square Mile Area Seepage Wall Project supports ongoing restoration efforts to move water south through the Everglades and into Florida Bay while mitigating potential flooding impacts in nearby communities.
“For many years, we have been working to find a solution to prevent water from seeping away from Everglades National Park and mitigate the residential flooding issues in the area. The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board decided that it was time to solve this problem, researched a solution, and now we are celebrating this accomplishment that benefits everybody,” said South Florida Water Management District Governing Board Member Charlie Martinez. “Our success to continue completing restoration and infrastructure projects would not be possible without the leadership of Governor DeSantis and the record investments made by the Florida Legislature. We appreciate our partners at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Jacksonville District, Miami-Dade County, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection who helped bring this important project to the finish line. And we greatly appreciate the steadfast advocates who have been committed to doing all we can to restore the Everglades.”
The 8.5 Square Mile Area Seepage Wall Project broke ground in August 2021 after being approved by the SFWMD Governing Board earlier in the year. This one-of-a-kind project built 2.3 miles of an underground wall to prevent water from seeping out of Everglades National Park and into the nearby Las Palmas Community (also known as the 8.5 Square Mile Area). A major goal of Everglades restoration is to deliver more water to Everglades National Park. This new underground seepage wall allows water managers to support Everglades restoration goals by sending even more water into Everglades National Park.
This critical project supports restoration flows of water south through the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and allows the Everglades to further reap the benefits of new operational plans like the Combined Operational Plan (COP) and new infrastructure being put in place throughout the Everglades.
The project is already demonstrating success for Everglades restoration. During recent heavy rain events, more water remained in Everglades National Park and flooding in the nearby community was reduced.
The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board recently authorized an additional phase of the project to build on this success and provide additional restoration and flood mitigation benefits. The next phase will install approximately 4.9 miles of a new seepage wall along the L-357 West Levee. It will break ground later this year.
Since the signing of Executive Order 19-12 in January of 2019, the South Florida Water Management District has received record investments to advance Everglades restoration and infrastructure projects while making strides to improve water quality. Florida has seen historic progress on several key priority projects including the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project, the Caloosahatchee (C-43) Reservoir Project, the C-44 Reservoir and Stormwater Treatment Area, and the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project.
- Download High-Resolution B-ROLL Video of the 8.5 Square Mile Area